What is the correct rephrasing for this sentence?

I went to the party and now I regret it.

  1. I shouldn't have gone to the party
  2. I shouldn't have been to the party
  • Both seem grammatical to me. But it seems you can make other tenses of "I have gone to the party": namely "I went to the party, I go to the party". But you cannot make other tenses of "I have been to the party": like "*I was to the party, *I am to the party". Why?
    – GEdgar
    Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 13:24
  • 3
    "I've been to" is often used to refer to places rather than events. For example, "I've been to France" or "I've been to John's house". For this reason I would probably prefer "gone". However, I don't know if this a real distinction in meaning (and if so, whether this is strict) or just my own preference.
    – Tim Foster
    Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 13:48

2 Answers 2


To be true, "have been" and "have gone" mean the same. "Be" as an intransitive verb means "be here", "go to and return from" or similar. The Wiktionary gives this example :

  • The post man has been to-day, but my tickets have still not yet come. I have been to Spain many times. Moscow, huh? I've never been. But it sounds fascinating.

Mark the use of " to be " verb in the sentence. Your alternative suggestions are correct and perfectly grammatical.


Either one is correct for the sentence. To me, "been to" seems more formal, or perhaps more British than American.

But if it were "gone to" or "been at", one can lean more than the other towards specific senses. If something bad happened at the party, if it was a wrong time, wrong place sort of thing, then, perhaps, you "should not have been" there. If you should have skipped the party because the act of going was a bad idea, then you, slightly more likely, "should not have gone".


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