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Thread: been+last year

  1. #1
    ostap77 is offline Key Member
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    Default been+last year

    "But you know, just to play the devil's advocate, why do I care if somebody knows that I 've been to San Francisco three times last year?"

    Would this be one of those sentences where descriptive grammar is used?

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    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: been+last year

    I don't understand your question.

  3. #3
    iannou is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: been+last year

    I'm with 5jj as far as understanding your question.
    The sentence can be made grammatical by inserting the words "in the" before "last year".

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    Default Re: been+last year

    Quote Originally Posted by iannou View Post
    I'm with 5jj as far as understanding your question.
    The sentence can be made grammatical by inserting the words "in the" before "last year".
    Yes, or changing "have been to" to "went to".

    To ostap. And descriptive grammar isn't something one uses to construct sentences.

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    ostap77 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: been+last year

    I was going to ask you if that would be one of those mistakes sometimes made in informal conversation?

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    SoothingDave is online now VIP Member
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    Default Re: been+last year

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    I was going to ask you if that would be one of those mistakes sometimes made in informal conversation?
    Yes. I don't think I would bat an eye at it.

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: been+last year

    Most speakers of BrE wouldn't bat an eyelid.

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: been+last year

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    "But you know, just to play the devil's advocate, why do I care if somebody knows that I 've been to San Francisco three times last year?"

    Would this be one of those sentences where descriptive grammar is used?
    Only if you could establish it as a pattern. It wouldn't sound odd in speech, but that doesn't mean is part of descriptive grammar.

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    iannou is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: been+last year

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Only if you could establish it as a pattern. It wouldn't sound odd in speech, but that doesn't mean is part of descriptive grammar.
    I guess I'm in the minority, but it does sound odd, erroneous, to me. I would mentally file this as "doesn't know appropriate use of perfect tenses." I certainly wouldn't let this pass if it came out of the mouth of an IELTS/TOEFL student.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: been+last year

    Quote Originally Posted by iannou View Post
    I guess I'm in the minority, but it does sound odd, erroneous, to me. I would mentally file this as "doesn't know appropriate use of perfect tenses." I certainly wouldn't let this pass if it came out of the mouth of an IELTS/TOEFL student.
    Probably no teacher would. However, this type of thing is commonly heard from native speakers (though much less often seen in writing).

    What seems to happen is that speakers conflate two idea in their head, in this case, "I've been to San Francisco three times" and "I went to San Francisco three times last year".

    If we are honest, we have to admit that such things are said, even if we have to warn learners that they should not say/write them.

    Another common 'mistake', though not one caused by conflation, is if I'd've + third form (past participle). Common sense and logic tell us that there is no such form in English, and all grammar and style books tell us it's wrong. But, it's very commonly heard, even from reasonably well-educated speakers. Those whose education is not so advanced often find it hard to accept that it's wrong - they hear it so often. I suspect that a true descriptive grammarian encountering spoken English for the first time would record it as an accepted tense form.

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