A: Is Mr. Bob at home?

B: Sorry, he isn't at home. He___to Hong Kong for vacation?

A. went
B. has gone
C. is going

Which one is correct answer? and why it is not the other ones?

  • 2
    This question appears to be off-topic because it may at best be asked on ELL.
    – Kris
    Nov 28, 2013 at 7:33
  • 3
    It looks as if someone is just asking for an answer for their homework, not really the purpose of SE, is it ? A little effort and they could have found that the answer is already on EL&U.
    – None
    Nov 28, 2013 at 7:46
  • For the record I'd like to say that I voted to migrate it to ELL. (At least I thought I did?)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 28, 2013 at 11:42

2 Answers 2


The answer is B.

If a person is not at home or at work it is because he or she is somewhere else.

Bill: Where's Mum? I'm hungry.

Dad: She's gone shopping, she'll be back soon.

If a person has returned from a specific location we use the past simple tense, went, to express this idea.

Bill: Mum where were you? I was really hungry

Mum: I went shopping, I'm back now so stop moaning.

The present continuous (and, be + going to + infinitive verb) used in: "I'm going shopping" or "He's going to Hong Kong for vacation" usually expresses a future arrangement or intention.

  • went? or went+to? @Mari-Lou A
    – Java D
    Nov 28, 2013 at 10:37
  • Went shopping; went on vacation; went to the shops; went to Hong Kong.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 28, 2013 at 10:43
  • so I went to shopping is not right?
    – Java D
    Nov 28, 2013 at 10:45
  • No, it isn't. Shopping is not a place, it's an activity. "She went swimming/fishing/dancing" etc. She went to the beach/lake/disco etc.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 28, 2013 at 10:49

'He has gone to Hong Kong for a vacation'is better. Note the indefinite article before vacation.

You could also say 'He went to HK for a vacation', but it implies the vacation is finished e.g. 'he went last month for a vacation'. If the vacation is still in process I would definitely use 'has gone'.

There are other ways of saying this, such as 'He has gone to HK on vacation', He is on vacation in HK', or 'He is vacationing in Hong Kong', but the last would be less usual, and sounds too grand for most situations.

In Britain we are less inclined to use the word 'vacation'. We tend to go away 'on holiday'. We also 'holiday', using the word as a verb, but to say someone is 'holidaying', is like using 'vacationing'. It can sound excessively pompous, and is sometimes used sarcastically implying 'he ought to be at work'.

  • 1
    What's the dastardly down vote all about?
    – WS2
    Nov 28, 2013 at 8:05
  • Upvote for teaching me a new word: dastardly :)
    – Lord Zsolt
    Nov 28, 2013 at 9:01
  • In the US vacation is often uncountable; When are you taking vacation this year?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 28, 2013 at 10:07
  • ‘Is going’ could work, too, in the sense that he is not at home because he is currently on his way to Hong Kong for a vacation. Nov 28, 2013 at 10:20
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA Yes, me too. But had it scanned he could equally have sung 'We're all going on holiday' with grammatical correctness. But after introducing the qualifier 'summer' I believe he would have been obliged to use 'a' our 'our'. In fact I have known people sing it as 'our summer holiday'. 'A Voice in the Wilderness' is the one which never allows me to forget one particular teenage party over half a century ago! I wonder why?
    – WS2
    Nov 28, 2013 at 11:50

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