• Special characters
  • Lautschrift

'when I've been'

8 replies    
was just wondering why 'when' doesn't work with the present perfect tense, as in, e.g. "when I've been to Ireland". Or does it? I know, however, that it works in some cases, for instance, in "what am I supposed to do when I have been fined 100 quid for speeding". Is there a general rule one can refer to?
What's more, would it be correct to use 'when' followed by the past perfect tense, as in "when I had first met her"?

Appreciate your help!
Authorlingvist (853892) 24 Feb 12, 13:01
I have no rule to offer, only examples. E.g. if when = on every occasion, and the relevant point in time is after the event itself, then the present perfect is appropriate.

I'm grumpy when I've just woken up.
He's always in a good mood when he's been in Ireland. (= when he has recently returned)

Also, when When = Whenever:
When I've been to Ireland, I've always been struck by the quality of the Guinness.
#1Authorcaptain flint (782544) 24 Feb 12, 13:33
'When I've been' works in the sense of 'Whenever I've been'.

'When I had first met her' would work in, say, narrative [pluperfect, if memory serves me right] and would be followed by something like 'I had thought she was beautiful'. If you were expressing the idea here and now, you would more likely say, 'When I first met, I thought she was beautiful'.
#2AuthorJ. Paul Murdock (845032) 24 Feb 12, 13:40
thanks, that#s of great help!
#3Authorlingvist (853892) 24 Feb 12, 15:33
Why wouldn't something like "when I've been to Ireland I will finally have visited all countries in Europe" work?
#4AuthorCarullus (670120) 24 Feb 12, 16:12

It would work. There's nothing else you could say (but put a 'the' after 'all').

#5Authorescoville (237761) 24 Feb 12, 16:16
Doesn't make much sense to me. I'd say "Once I see Ireland, I'll have visited ...," for example. Or "As soon as I've seen Ireland, I'll have ..."

As #2 points out, "when I've been ..." often means whenever I've been ..."
#6Authordude (253248) 24 Feb 12, 16:52
I disagree with dude (which doesn't happen often).

Here we have a temporal clause referring to the future. English grammar does not allow you to use a future tense of any kind here. But let's assume for the sake of argument that you can use a future. Then what dude and I are discussing is whether you would say (it doesn't matter whether we start When.. or Once..., and I'll use 'see' to avoid the well-known problem with perfect 'be'):

When I will have seen Ireland
When I will see Ireland

Cut out the 'will' (because grammar says we must) and we have:

When I've seen...
When I see

But you won't have visited all the countries in Europe until (after) you have seen Ireland (surely?).

Both logic and (more important) my feeling for language tell me to use a present perfect here.

#7Authorescoville (237761) 24 Feb 12, 17:32
I don''t have a problem with "when I've seen ..." in this context, but for some reason, "when I've been to ..." just sticks in my craw.

On the other hand, saying something like "lately, when I've been to the beach, I'll notice that ..." gives me less of a strange feeling. :-)
#8Authordude (253248) 24 Feb 12, 17:35
i Only registered users are allowed to post in this forum
LEO uses cookies in order to facilitate the fastest possible website experience with the most functions. In some cases cookies from third parties are also used. For further information about this subject please refer to the information under  Leo’s Terms of use / Data protection (Cookies)