I've been sailing a few times

Discussion in 'English Only' started by salai, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. salai

    salai Senior Member


    Here is a sentence from the story "Sailing a tall ship off the coast of Maine" by Alex Levito published by Reader's Digest, November 2007:
    "Since that voyage, I've been sailing a few times."

    Why is Present Perfect Continuous used here?
    I have always thought that If I say how many times I have done something, it is Perfect Simple, but not Perfect Continuous.

    Thank you for the time and help.
  2. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    "Sailing" is not part of the verb but the name of an activity. "Have been" is the entire verb ("I go", "I went", "I have been"). Compare this sentence to:
    I've been to town a few times.
    I've gone sailing a few times.
  3. salai

    salai Senior Member


    Thanks to your explanation the situation is clear now, I thought that it would be correct to say "to go sailing" though.
  4. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    We use "been" to express the fact that someone has gone and come back.
    He's been to Athens = He's visited Athens
    He's gone to Athens = He's in Athens now
  5. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    'Go sailing' is the activity: simple past 'went sailing'. The peculiarity is that in the perfect you can use either 'been' or 'gone': I've been sailing = I've gone sailing. This is also true for going to a place: I've been to Russia = I have gone to Russia (and have come back). This is only in the perfect - otherwise you can't use 'be sailing' ('am sailing' etc.) for other tenses of 'go sailing'; but they can still be used with the ordinary progressive use of 'be'.

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