Have been/was today


Senior Member
Hello guys! Can you interpret these two sentences for me please?

1) I have been to Hamburg today. (does this mean that they might still be in Hamburg, or go back there today again)

2) I was in Hamburg today. (is this correct at all, and if it is what's the difference between was and have been in 1)
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Both sentences are correct.

    Sentence 1 uses an idiom. We use "been to" (in the past tense) to mean "visited". So sentence 1 means you visited Hamburg today (you went there, then did things there, then returned from there, all today).

    We also use "go to" in all tenses (went to, will go to). Sometimes that means "visit" (go there and return) and other times it means one-way travel (go there, not return).

    I often go to London, just for fun. (visit)
    The train goes to Birmingham first. Then it goes to London. (travel one-way)

    Sentence 2 is literal, not an idiom. You were physically inside the city of Hamburg, at some time today. The sentence does not say why you were there. Shopping? Business? Sight-seeing?
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