Been vs. Gone – Have been to vs. have gone to
New York … What do you say?
You have been to New York … or … You have gone to New York?
Let’s look at the difference between BEEN TO and GONE TO.
Have gone to and Has gone to are used when someone is currently at a place AND they have not returned. The trip has NOT finished and they are still there.
If I say they have gone to New York, it means they are still there and haven’t returned.
Have been to and Has been to are used when someone has visited a place AND returned. The trip has finished.
If I say they have been to New York, it means they are visited and have returned.
BEEN TO vs. GONE TO comparison
Let’s compare BEEN and GONE together:
- Fred has been to New York many times.
(He is NOT there now. The trips have finished.)
- Fred has gone to New York for work. He’ll be back on Friday.
(He is in New York NOW. The trip has NOT finished.)
Questions with BEEN
If you want to ask if someone has visited a place, you use BEEN TO in the question.
Been to = visited
The question is: Have you BEEN TO (x place) ?
- Have you ever been to South Africa?
We CANNOT use GONE TO.
Have you ever been to South Africa? Is like saying:
- Have you ever visited South Africa?
Now compare at these questions:
- Where has Jack gone? (We use GONE because he hasn’t returned)
We want to know where Jack has gone because we can’t see him now.
- Where has Jack been? (We use BEEN because he has returned)
We are curious about where Jack has BEEN because he has returned from somewhere and he’s covered in scratches.
Notice with these questions, since we used WHERE we did not use TO at the end.
Example sentences with BEEN TO
- We’ve been to the beach twice this year.
- Yes, I’ve been to that restaurant before.
- He has been to the dentist and feels much better.
- I’ve just been to the bakery to buy a pie. It’s yummy!
Example sentences with GONE TO
- Fiona has just gone to the bank. She’ll be back soon.
- The children have gone to school. (They are still there. It’s quiet here.)
- She has gone to Paris as an exchange student.
- He’s just gone to the bakery. I hope he buys me a pie.
Been to vs. Gone to – Practice Exercises
Complete these sentences using BEEN TO or GONE TO.
- She’s _______ Japan for work. She’ll be back on Thursday.
- I’ve already _______ Thailand twice but I want to go back.
- You have a nice tan. Have you _______ the beach lately?
- Mike isn’t here. He has _______ his mother’s house.
- A: I can’t find Mary. B: She’s _______ the library.
- I haven’t _______ Sweden but I hope to go there soon.
- She has _______ the movies and will be back later.
- I’ve just _______ the shops so now I have everything we need to cook.
The answers to this practice appear in our video.
English Summary Chart
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