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  1. #41
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Been' - past participle of GO?

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    Isn't it strange that I can say

    I've been to London.


    and I can't say

    I am to London?

    I agree with 5jj that this usage is strange and I think it's strange because of the "to". I don't know if that's 5jj's reason too though.
    I don't have any reference to hand but I feel sure that structures like "I am to London" can be found in 18th and 19th century literature, it may be a structure which has fallen out of use.

  2. #42
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    Default Re: 'Been' - past participle of GO?

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    I don't have any reference to hand but I feel sure that structures like "I am to London" can be found in 18th and 19th century literature, it may be a structure which has fallen out of use.
    I felt sure that I had come across 'I am to France' in Shakespeare, but a search of a concordance disabused me of this idea.

  3. #43
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    Default Re: 'Been' - past participle of GO?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    ...
    I accept that I have been to (place) is a strange use of the present perfect of BE ...

    'Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?'
    'I've been to London to visit the Queen.'

    There's a lot of odd language fossilized in nursery rhymes, but this feels quite normal to me (apart from the talking cat, that is).

    b

  4. #44
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    Default Re: 'Been' - past participle of GO?

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    Isn't it strange that I can say

    I've been to London.


    and I can't say

    I am to London?

    ...
    I think there was a time when you could say 'I am to London' - which could explain a lot...hmmm...

    b

  5. #45
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Been' - past participle of GO?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I felt sure that I had come across 'I am to France' in Shakespeare, but a search of a concordance disabused me of this idea.
    The following is from Henry V:

    "You boy, Bardolph, no word to your master that I am to London.
    - There's for your silence. - I have no tongue, sir."

  6. #46
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    Default Re: 'Been' - past participle of GO?

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    You boy, Bardolph, no word to your master that I am to London.
    Now that is encouraging. A couple more like that with, ideally, one "I was to..." and our case rests.

  7. #47
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Been' - past participle of GO?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Now that is encouraging. A couple more like that with, ideally, one "I was to..." and our case rests.
    I haven't come across any other examples of "I am to..." but I'm sure that some exist. As for "I was to..." there are plenty of examples from American sources, "I was to the general store this morning", for example, but I wouldn't like to say how acceptable they are.

  8. #48
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: 'Been' - past participle of GO?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Now that is encouraging. A couple more like that with, ideally, one "I was to..." and our case rests.
    While it's a very interesting thing to know, I wouldn't say that it answers any questions about current usage. No one I believe argues that "been" has it's historical roots the same as "go", so explaining how it came to pass that "been to" is used this way doesn't seem relevant to the discussion (although it was the most interesting part of it to me).

    What seems more important to me is that all native speakers here (and now) think "been" is not the past participle of "go".

  9. #49
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    Default Re: 'Been' - past participle of GO?

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    While it's a very interesting thing to know, I wouldn't say that it answers any questions about current usage. No one I believe argues that "been" has it's historical roots the same as "go", so explaining how it came to pass that "been to" is used this way doesn't seem relevant to the discussion (although it was the most interesting part of it to me).
    What seems more important to me is that all native speakers here (and now) think "been" is not the past participle of "go".
    Unfortunately, with the OALD, CALD, Quirk at al, Leech and Swan all saying that been is the past participle of GO in the constructions we are talking about, some people might assume that this must be true. Such people would overlook the fact that the authorities named have presented no justification for their assertion, while we have presented some arguments for our belief that it is not.

    If we could produce evidence of BE + to + place used in the past in other tenses than the present perfect, then it would show beyond any shadow of doubt that the assertions of Quirk and the others are wrong.

    It's not vitally important - so long as learners use the forms correctly, it doesn't really matter what they believe. I just happen to object very strongly to incorrect 'facts' being presented in discussions of English. I know that been is not ever the past participle of GO. I would like to be able to convince the unbelievers of this.

  10. #50
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    Default Re: 'Been' - past participle of GO?

    Them's fightin' words, but I like the cut of your jib!

    b

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