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  1. #1
    Mysiah is offline Newbie
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    Default CELTA - confused about the most common answer regarding "I've been to the bank..."

    Hello,

    I've looked around different forums and tried to figure this out myself BELIEVE me but here it goes:

    In the "1. Correcting a student’s mistakes" section the statement “Yes, I’ve been to the bank yesterday.” is incorrect as it uses the past perfect when referring to a specific point in time. In other words the past simple should be used. I get all that HOWEVER what I don't understand is this:

    Why not simply use the past simple of the verb "to be" as in "I was at the bank yesterday".

    Now I am aware that doesn't really answer the question. Everywhere I look people seem to be correcting the statement to " I went to the bank yesterday" - fair enough. but why change the verb used? Does it it have anything to do with the change of "to the bank" into "at the bank". I do think it particularly answers the question an better either.

    Whatever it is I'm not seeing it.

    Another option I was going to use was "I've been to the bank" and removing the word "yesterday" but I'm not sure that's the right way to go as it seems "I went to the bank yesterday" is the only answer people seem to be giving on this task.

    So what am I missing here ? I really would prefer to understand this rather than just fill it out and get a check but not knowing why :D

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: CELTA - confused about the most common answer regarding "I've been to the bank...

    Did you not like my response in the other forum?

    (later) I am reposting it here to make life simpler:


    There are several possibilities:

    1a. I am at the bank every day.
    1b. I was at the bank yesterday.
    1c. I have been at the bank every day this week.

    Ia and 1b are possible for both a bank employee or a customer, though it just happens that customers more often 'go to' than 'be at' the bank in most contexts. I think that a customer not very likely to say 1c.

    2a I go to the bank every day.
    2c. I went the the bank yesterday.
    2c. I have gone to the bank every day this week.

    All three are possible.

    3a.
    3b.
    3c. I have been to the bank every day this week.

    There are no present or past tense exact equivalents of 3c.
    Last edited by 5jj; 07-Feb-2013 at 19:49. Reason: cutting out a link
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  3. #3
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: CELTA - confused about the most common answer regarding "I've been to the bank...

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Did you not like my response here?
    It looks good to me.

    Rover

  4. #4
    Mysiah is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: CELTA - confused about the most common answer regarding "I've been to the bank...

    Sorry I didn't realise englishforums would actually post my thread without a registration :) Just had a look. Let me just say I'm really new to grammar, I've only done it in French and German - very basic level though. Before last night I basically knew that an adjective describes a noun and the verb is that other one (yes really) so I'm trying to catch up rather quickly :)

    In other words I'm not sure I understand correctly:

    It is possible to use "I was at the bank yesterday" which is great but I still don't understand why everyone is so inclined to the verb to go instead of to be in this sentence (I know I'm probably being very daft) as in "I went to the bank".... is it just something that people are 'more likely' to say and that's it ?

    M.

  5. #5
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is online now Moderator
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    Default Re: CELTA - confused about the most common answer regarding "I've been to the bank...

    "I was at the bank yesterday" only refers to location.
    "I went to the bank yesterday" suggests a visit which involved some kind of financial transaction.

    To be fair, it's more a difference in our comprehension of what happened than anything else. The phrase "to go to the bank", in BrE at least, is taken to mean "to visit the building or institution known as a bank and carry out out some unspecified banking transaction".

    Q - Where were you yesterday when the bomb went off at the church?
    A - Fortunately, I was at the bank.

    Q - What did you do yesterday?
    A - I went to the bank, then I met a friend for coffee.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  6. #6
    Mysiah is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: CELTA - confused about the most common answer regarding "I've been to the bank...

    Intuitively speaking (as in I have no idea grammar wise) if someone said to me they went to the bank it wouldn't mean they did anything specific there (ie. They could have just gone to the bank and stared at the floor). just as much as if they said they were at the bank... maybe it's just me.

    The only one that kinda makes me feel like it answers the question is I've been to the bank (not using the word yesterday).

    I don't think I'll ever get this :P I guess I will just have to live with 'that's the way it is' as I still don't see the difference as both statements can mean a) doing something financial at the bank and b) staring at the floor - theoretically :)

  7. #7
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is online now Moderator
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    Default Re: CELTA - confused about the most common answer regarding "I've been to the bank...

    That's exactly why I pointed out that our understanding of certain phrases can differ from what appears to be the logical, grammatical meaning.

    If I say "I went to the cinema last night" I can safely say that no BrE speaker would even consider that I simply went to the cinema building and stared at the floor or similar. They would all understand that I went to see a film.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  8. #8
    Mysiah is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: CELTA - confused about the most common answer regarding "I've been to the bank...

    Thanks a lot then :)

    At least I can stop thinking about it.

    M.

  9. #9
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: CELTA - confused about the most common answer regarding "I've been to the bank...

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    If I say "I went to the cinema last night" I can safely say that no BrE speaker would even consider that I simply went to the cinema building and stared at the floor or similar. They would all understand that I went to see a film.


    I am old enough to remember LBA - Life before ATMs. In those days, if I had said, at midnight, "I must go to the bank", people would have looked at me as if I were mad. Nowadays they would know that I was simply going out for some cash.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  10. #10
    JarekSteliga is offline Member
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    Default Re: CELTA - confused about the most common answer regarding "I've been to the bank...

    Not a teacher / not a native speaker

    Seems to me that Mysiah's inclination to say "I was at the bank" rather than "I went to the bank" stems from the fact that in Polish language we normaly say "I was at the bank".

    I think confusion is futher amplified by the use of "be" in "I've been".
    One might holler at the lack of consequence. Why is "be" used in Present Perfect while "go" is used in Simple Past to describe what essantially is one and same thing i.e. spending a period of time at the bank?

    I suppose one should not try to look for the underlying logic behind different expressions, but rather accept and learn them as they naturally occure (as long as the main purpose is just to learn a foreign language)

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