be to see somebody

  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I don't speak British English, garbage-cnbeta, but it seems to mean that Patrick had stopped by some building, presumably where Nickie lives, in an effort to see Nickie.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    In some situations we use the past tense "been" to mean "visited".
    In some situations we use "see" to mean "visit".
    This sentence uses both: here "been to see" means "visited".

    So your example sentence says "She had come to tell Nickie that Patrick Townsend had visited her."
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "Been" is often similar in meaning to "gone". Patrick Townsend had gone (to her house or to wherever she was) to see her.

    Here is a common question people ask when they are expecting a letter or a parcel. "Been" includes the acts of coming and of going away again:
    Has the postman been today? (Did the postman come today?)
     
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