Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Been or gone?

Compare the following sentences:
He's gone to London
He's been to London
Image: 'London Eye & Big Ben at sunset

Do they mean the same? The answer is no. Sometimes it's confusing for learners of English to use one or the other, especially when you can see both been and gone as the past participle of the verb to go in most manuals.
You use gone when you mean that the person has travelled to a place and not returned yet. But when you mean that the person has travelled to the place and is back, you use been.
The difference is quite clear for Spanish speakers when you translate the above examples:
Ha ido a Londres.
Ha estado en Londres
As the usage of ido and estado is the same as gone and been.
Imagine that you are in Spain and you want to ask a foreign person if he or she has visited the country before, what would you say:
Have you been to Spain before?
Have you gone to Spain before?
Image: 'La Sagrada Familia

The correct answer is the first one, because you are both in the same place.

Notice the use of the preposition to, as to go is a verb of movement and therefore it requires that preposition. But in the case of been, the preposition in can also be used when we want to enphasize the time spent in a place and not the fact of having been in that place. Compare:
My sister has gone to Australia. In fact, she's been in Australia for two weeks already.
My sister has been to Australia. She has just returned.

The following exercises will help you reinforce the difference between gone and been.

Need more exercises? Follow this link

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...