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Grammar 7

Been and gone (Extra grammar goody with some new information)


Been is the past participle of the verb be, and gone is of go. However, when we use the passive or the past participle to talk about going somewhere, these have different meanings.


We use gone when we talk about someone or something that is already going to a place or is already there: 

Where’s Dennis? He’s gone to Greece (he is on his way to Greece or he is already there). 


We use been when we talk about someone or something that went to a place but is now back:

Hello Dennis! I haven’t seen you for a few days! I know. I’ve been to Greece.


But if Dennis is a regular traveller to Greece – perhaps he goes to Greece every week, but always comes back at weekends – and somebody asks a colleague or his other half where he is, they can answer ‘he’s in Greece,’ ‘he’s away in Greece’ ‘Oh, he’s working in Greece’ and so on, usually with a short explanation why. They could say ‘he’s gone to Greece’, but this usually suggests a single trip, and that when Dennis comes back he would not expect to return for some time.

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