“Where’ve you been or where are you going on holiday?”

As it is about half way through the summer holiday season, the question begs, “Where’ve you been or where are you going?” This question is a minefield of grammar issues.

Let’s talk about the first part – “Where have you been?”. Maybe you will recognise that as the ‘present perfect (PP)’ tense (have & past participle) and wonder why I didn’t use the ‘simple past (SP)’ tense “Where were you (on holiday)?” instead. Yes, the holiday is OVER and so we COULD use the SP tense, too.

However, by asking: “Where have you been?” we actually want you to tell us NOW what you did in the past. This is an example of one use of the PP, which often confuses learners. You use the PP to talk about (a) past event(s) (we don’t know/remember the specific time/or it isn’t even important). The result NOW in this case the holiday destination is the most important thing!!! “I’ve been to Greece (for a fortnight!)” As you then may go on to talk about SPECIFIC DATES/TIMES you then MUST use the SP “Yes, we stayed in Athens for a week and then travelled around a bit – we flew back 2 days ago.”

If you have the recommended grammar book ‘English Grammar in Use’, you can read more examples and exercises on pages 14/5. You can buy the book through this Amazon affiliate link https://amzn.to/2B9r0X5 * I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Part 2. “Where are you going?” By now, I guess, your holiday is booked and you are ready to go. Your hols are ‘arranged’ (fixed!!!!) and we use the present continuous (PC) for the future arrangements/appointments “We’re flying off to Greece on Friday for a fortnight”.

Again if you have the recommended grammar book ‘English Grammar in Use’, you can read more examples and exercises on pages p38/39.

to beg the question (die Frage aufwerfen), issue (hier: Problem), to recognise (erkennen), tense (Zeitform), to wonder (sich fragen), specific time (bestimmte Zeit), exercise (Übung), commission (Provision), appointment (Termin), fortnight (14 Tage),

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