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have gone & have been

I am frequently asked what the difference is between have gone and have been. Generally speaking, when we say, “He has gone to New York,” we mean he has left and is in New York now.  When we say, “He has been to New York,” we mean he went to New York and he is back now, or he has left and is not in New York.

Look at the following sentences.

  • She won’t be here tomorrow because she has gone on a business trip.
  • He has been to Hawaii twice, but he hasn’t been to China yet.
  • John has already gone to work, but he hasn’t been to the bank yet.
  • Where has David gone? (Meaning he is not here now).
  • Where have you been? (Meaning you are here now, but you were somewhere).


Richard Carrigan

Richard Carrigan has been an educator for over 30 years. He has experience teaching professional and academic English. He earned his graduate degree from Shenandoah University.

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