Do You Know the Difference Between 'Have Gone to' and 'Have Been to'?

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The present perfect forms have gone to and have been to are often confused in English. However, there are clear differences between the two forms. The present perfect forms have gone to and have been to are commonly used to refer to movement to another place. Notice the differences in the examples below.

Has / Have Gone to in Present Perfect Tense

Has / have gone to refers to someone who has gone to a place but has but not yet returned. In other words, someone who has gone to Hawaii is still in Hawaii having a good time.

Here are some examples:

  • He's gone to the bank. He should be back soon.
  • Where has Tom gone to?
  • They've gone to the business conference for the week.

Has / Have Been to in Present Perfect Tense

Has / have been to refers to a place which someone has visited at some time in their life. In other words, has been to refers to an experience that involves travel. The form has / have been to always indicate that the person has returned or is no longer there.

Here are some examples:

  • He's been to London many times.
  • I've been to Disneyland twice.
  • Ask Tom for some money. He's been to the bank today.

Future Perfect and Past Perfect

Both have been to and have gone to can be used in future and past perfect forms. Had been to indicates that someone has gone to another place and returned. On the other hand, had gone to indicates that the person was not present at some time in the past.

Here are some examples:

  • I'd been to a restaurant, so I wasn't hungry when he invited me out to eat.
  • They'd gone to the shopping mall, so they weren't home when I arrived.
  • Helen had been to the presentation by the time the director asked her those questions.
  • Melanie had gone to the dentist and wasn't available for lunch.

The future perfect forms of will have been to and will have gone to both indicate that a person will have visited a location before a point in time in the future. In this case, both forms are similar in meaning.

  • My friends will have already been to the restaurant by the time I give it a try.
  • Unfortunately, my assistant will have gone to a conference by then.
  • Janice will have been to Kenya by the time I get back to work next month.
  • Kevin will have gone to the meeting, so I won't need to worry about attending.

Test Your Knowledge With This 'Gone to vs. Been to' Quiz

Do you understand the rules? Test your knowledge with this quiz by choosing the best form based on the information provided:

Mixing up have been to and have gone to is one of many common mistakes made in English.

1. You're looking for a colleague. What answer will you get if the colleague is in the building?

2. You visit a friend, but she's not available at this time. What phrase will you hear?

3. Jack __________ gone to a restaurant for lunch. He'll be back soon.

4. My colleague __________ to a lawyer to find out if he needs to draw up a new contract, so I can't give you an answer now.

5. Your friend wasn't at home when you arrived. What does his sister tell you?

Do You Know the Difference Between 'Have Gone to' and 'Have Been to'?

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Do You Know the Difference Between 'Have Gone to' and 'Have Been to'?

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Do You Know the Difference Between 'Have Gone to' and 'Have Been to'?

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