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  1. Key Member
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    #1

    This is the first time I have been to London

    "I have been to London(means I went to London and came back, I am not in London)". This is what I read in grammar book but there was one more thing.

    "Jane: Have you ever been to London?"

    "Sue: No, this is the first time I have been to London(she is in London while talking to Jane)."

    Does "I have been" have two meanings? I am confused.

    Please check.

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: This is the first time I have been to London

    Quote Originally Posted by tufguy View Post
    "I have been to London [space] (means I went to London and came back, I am not in London)". This is what I read in grammar book, but there was one more thing.

    "Jane: Have you ever been to London?"

    "Sue: No, this is the first time I have been to London [space] (she is in London while talking to Jane)."

    Does "I have been" have two meanings? I am confused.

    Please check.
    That's a good question.

    The "is" pulls the expression "I have been" into the present. One of the grammarians here might be able to explain it.

    However, your conversation between Jane and Sue is wrong, so it's hard to answer your question.

    If they are both in London, then Jane already knows that Sue is there, so the question would make no sense.

    If Jane is in London and Sue is not, then she would not say that she IS in London.

    Likewise, if neither is in London, Sue would not say she is.

    If Jane had said, "Have you ever been to London BEFORE?" (meaning before this visit), then Sue's answer would make sense. She would be saying that she had not visited in the past.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #3

    Re: This is the first time I have been to London

    Yes, I forgot to write "before", sorry. But she says "this is the first time, I have been to London". This is my question. In grammar book it's written that she replies like this "this is the first time I have been to London".

  4. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: This is the first time I have been to London

    Quote Originally Posted by tufguy View Post
    Yes, I forgot to write "before", sorry. But she says "this is the first time, I have been to London". This is my question. In grammar book it's written that she replies like this "this is the first time I have been to London".
    It's fine. It means: "This is my first trip to London." I'll let a grammarian help you disect the verb conjugation.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #5

    Re: This is the first time I have been to London

    It's only correct if you leave out the comma.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #6

    Re: This is the first time I have been to London

    Quote Originally Posted by tufguy View Post
    "I have been to London. (means I went to London and came back, I am not in London)".
    This is not necessarily true. It is just one possible interpretation of the intended meaning.

    Quote Originally Posted by tufguy View Post
    "Jane: Have you ever been to London [before]?"

    "Sue: No, this is the first time I have been to London."
    This shows the use of present perfect quite well. The meaning of the sentence is clear.

    Quote Originally Posted by tufguy View Post
    "Does "I have been" have two meanings? I am confused.
    This question doesn't make sense. I think you misunderstand what 'meaning' is. Look:


    • I have been.
    • I have been to London.
    • This is the first time I have been to London.


    These are three different sentences. They all use the present perfect but they each have a different meaning. The meaning is what the speaker wants to say. The third example has a clear meaning, but the second one is not so clear. The first one is even less clear - we need a lot more information about the situation to know what the speaker could mean.

  5. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: This is the first time I have been to London

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    . . . These are three different sentences. They all use the present perfect but they each have a different meaning. The meaning is what the speaker wants to say. The third example has a clear meaning, but the second one is not so clear. The first one is even less clear - we need a lot more information about the situation to know what the speaker could mean.
    I think Tufguy is simply wondering how been can be used in a the present tense.

    Tufguy: "Have been" and "had been" show continuing action.

    - "I have been watching Tufguy's thread" means that I was watching before and still am now.

    - "I had been watching Tufguy's thread" means that I was watching before but am not watching now.

    So you see that "have been" refers to the present and "had been" refers to the past - even though been is past tense when it stands alone.

    "This is the first time I have been to London" means that it is probably not the last time. The "continuing action" of visiting London has begun now. She expects to visit again.
    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 05-May-2016 at 19:39.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #8

    Re: This is the first time I have been to London

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    - "I have been watching Tufguy's thread" means that I was watching before and still am now.
    You are not necessarily watching now,
    been is past tense when it stands alone.
    Been is not past tense. It is usually part of past-tense constructions. It never stands alone/
    "This is the first time I have been to London" means that it is probably not the last time. The "continuing action" of visiting London has begun now. She expects to visit again.
    Not necessarily, though that possibility exists.
    Last edited by Piscean; 05-May-2016 at 20:00. Reason: typo

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    #9

    Re: This is the first time I have been to London

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    Have been" and "had been" show continuing action.
    - "I have been watching Tufguy's thread" means that I was watching before and still am now.

    - "I had been watching Tufguy's thread" means that I was watching before but am not watching now.

    Charlie - that's not right. The continuous action is suggested here by the continuous aspect - the watching part, not the have/had been part.


    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    "This is the first time I have been to London" means that it is probably not the last time. The "continuing action" of visiting London has begun now. She expects to visit again.
    We wouldn't know if she intends to visit again. She's just answering a question about her experience.

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    #10

    Re: This is the first time I have been to London

    Sorry, still confused. It is from Raymond Murphy's book. I am not confused about the "been". I am just wondering, why it has two meanings? " I have been to London ( I went to London but came back and it also means this is the first time I have come to London)".
    Last edited by tufguy; 06-May-2016 at 09:29.

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