1. I was alone.
  2. I have been alone.

Does the second sentence mean that my being "alone" has stopped now, and I am not alone in the present moment?

What is semantic difference between them? I know one is simple past and latter is present perfect. I think it has to do something with time.

  • 1
    The first was completed in the past and no longer applies. The second was the case in the past and may be the case now. (I'm not sure this is the right forum for a question like this, though.)
    – ralph.m
    Dec 6, 2018 at 7:46
  • Can you suggest me a right forum. Dec 6, 2018 at 7:49
  • 2
    Sure. Try this one: ell.stackexchange.com
    – ralph.m
    Dec 6, 2018 at 7:51

1 Answer 1


The first sentence refers to the completed past event. The event is not going on now. The second sentence may refer either to the noncompleted event which is going on now or the completed event with the present result. So the main difference is in the connection of the event /action or state/ with the present moment. - I was alone but now l'm not. - l've been alone and it pains me a lot.

  • So in second case, we cannot be sure of whether action is completed or not. Dec 6, 2018 at 9:11
  • That's right. We need some context. If there was some reference of duration / for... or since.../, we would definitely know about the process. But we are not sure about the completion of the process /are you still alone?/.
    – user307254
    Dec 6, 2018 at 9:36
  • Please cite your sources.
    – Kris
    Dec 6, 2018 at 11:28

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