What’s the best present you’ve ever received? On 20 Sept. 2011 my son Matthew was born …. on my birthday!!!! That’s the best present (by a million miles) I have ever had. And you? Notice the signal word here? ‘Ever’ meaning here at any time in your life (and your life started in the past and continues up to today).
The question, therefore, “Have you ever been to New York?” literally means at any time in your life have you been to New York? This is now where the confusion starts – how to answer:
“Yes, I have.”* “I’ve been to NY” or “I went to NY in 2008” (specific/named past time = simple past). *I always suggest giving the short answer and adding to it if necessary.
Don’t make this mistake: “I’ve been to NY in 2008.” “No, I haven’t. I’ve never been to NY.”
There sometimes also confusion why we say ‘been to’ instead of ‘gone to’ from ‘go’ to NY. ‘Been’ is used always used with the idea of going and COMING back.
Check out “Where’ve you been?” = You are here now!!! but where did you go? “Where’s Dave gone?” = He isn’t here now!!! Where is he/where did he go?
What’s the best present you’ve ever received?