A native speaker said: "I have ever went to"



I heard a guy from Manchester, UK said —

It was the best restaurant I have ever went to.

And Google offers 23 million pages for the query "have ever went to", and only 3 millions for "I have ever gone to".

Is this form correct? Has the grammar changed?


Posted 2013-06-18T22:06:30.100

Reputation: 7 310

"I have ever gone to" is definitely better than "I have ever went to." I would consider the latter to be wrong. – Daniel – 2013-06-19T13:53:57.090

3Google's initial "guestimates" for text strings containing common words are often appalingly inaccurate. If you force it to actually *show* you all instances of "the best restaurant I have ever went to", you'll find there are only 17 (one being this question itself, several others being duplicates of each other). But you'll get bored scrolling through instances of *"the best restaurant I have ever been to"* - the initial estimate of 1,170,000 results might actually be true (or even an underestimate). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2013-06-19T15:58:55.737


Some relevant discussion on ELU: http://english.stackexchange.com/a/31454/28567

– snailplane – 2013-06-19T17:08:44.177



The "correct" (by which I assume you mean "Standard English") for this would be to say:

It was the best restaurant I have ever been to.


It was the best restaurant I ever went to.

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Note that ungrammatical text is quite common in some dialects, and can often creep in when people speak quickly or with an incomplete grasp of English (for example people learning English as a second language, or children).

As a learner you should try to focus on speaking Standard English yourself (unless you have a good reason not to), but be aware that other people, including native speakers, won't always speak perfectly grammatical English back to you.


Posted 2013-06-18T22:06:30.100

Reputation: 11 728

I think it would make more sense if you'd graphed all three of I have ever been to, I ever went to, I have ever went to. We all know (well, all native speakers know) that the third of those *never* occurs - it's just not something people say, even when speaking quickly or casually. But of the valid usages, your chart obscures the fact that I ever went to is much more likely than I have ever been to.

– FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2013-06-19T02:39:07.097

1"Never occurs" is too strong. Went as a past participle is an archaic form which is preserved in a number of modern dialects, such as Appalachian English. It's non-standard, of course. – snailplane – 2013-06-19T03:20:22.810

2@snailboat: Aye, forsooth! On ELU, a plus one for ye; but on ELL I agree with FumbleFingers. We shouldn't be teaching learners that "I have ever went to" is valid English, because in the English most learners will be encountering it isn't; it is only valid when discussing expert-level English (such as archaic forms and dialects) or when quoting directly from dialect-heavy speech. In the former, ELL is not the place, and to the latter, all English "rules" go out the window anyway. So I would venture to say that "'I have ever went to' is valid" is not something ELL should be teaching. – Matt – 2013-06-19T04:01:09.990

1@Matt Sure, and I agree we shouldn't be teaching it as a valid choice. That's why I made sure to repeat that it's non-standard, even though you already said so in your answer. But all the same, we should avoid saying things that are contrary to fact. – snailplane – 2013-06-19T04:39:38.670

@snailboat: Oh come on! It *never occurs among speakers of "standard English"*, if you insist. And even if there are still a few areas where a few older people say it "naturally", I would bet my life their children (or grandchildren, more like) would be downmarked if they used it in school essays, for example. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2013-06-19T15:49:28.713

1@FumbleFingers You're right, it's a stigmatized usage. It's pretty common, though, and it's unremarkable in my native dialect. Lots of native speakers say it, and I'm afraid to report that not all of them are grandparents ;-) – snailplane – 2013-06-19T17:04:37.757

@Fumble: I agree with snailboat. I never like to use never when talking about language. ;^) – J.R. – 2013-06-19T17:47:37.827

Everyone seems to have missed the oft confused past participles; "gone" and "been". Many native speakers and learners say and write: I have ever gone to to talk about being at a place (and then returning). I will tell Italian speakers not to worry unnecessarily unless they are sitting for an exam, in that case I have to insist on the so-called standard English version. – Mari-Lou A – 2013-06-19T17:55:45.577

@Mari-Lou: True - I wouldn't bother telling a learner that *I've never gone to a better restaurant* wasn't strictly "kosher". For many native speakers that's perfectly normal English, and I don't think ELL should be promoting pedantry for the sake of it. And where would you draw the line? I don't think even the most rabid pedant could object to "I've never gone to church in my life" (if anyone tried to tell me that was somehow "ungrammatical", I would simply roll my eyes! :) – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2013-06-19T19:46:51.857