I tell a story to a friend. I want to say that I was in Rome for the third time. Do I need to use be or go? I know the difference like in this example: - She has just been to the shop. She brought some cakes. (she is here now) - She has just gone to the shop. She will back soon. (she is not here now)

I get confused when it happened in the past. Could anyone help me? Thank you.

The question is about the two sentences:

It was the third time I had been to Rome


It was the third time I had gone to Rome.

I speak in the past. I tell the story from a past point of view. In the past I wasn't back when I spoke. What does that change? What is the meaning of the two forms?

marked as duplicate by Jim, choster, Edwin Ashworth, Glorfindel, tchrist Apr 23 '17 at 17:02

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.


"It was the third time I had been to Rome" is preferred, assuming you're talking about actually being in Rome, vs. the process of travelling to Rome. If you're talking about taking the train or something, you might use "gone" in that case.

  • Please check whether 'duplicate' claims are correct before adding what may be repeat answers. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 19 '17 at 21:52

The other answer is good enough. However, let me offer you a more natural-sounding alternative:

It was my third time in Rome.

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    Thank you. Sometimes, we don't think of the simple way. – gerardfevre Apr 19 '17 at 20:15
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    This was better left as a comment, as it doesn't directly answer the original question. – choster Apr 19 '17 at 20:45
  • @choster: ... because the vast majority of questions and answers on this board are of such fantastically high quality. – Ricky Apr 19 '17 at 22:55
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    I'm giving this answer a +1 because it was useful to the poster and because I think it does answer one question the poster asks: "Do I need to use be or go?"The answer is, actually you don't have to use either one if you rethink your approach and recognize that there are more than two paths out of these woods (and back to Rome). – Sven Yargs Apr 20 '17 at 5:26

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