English as a Second Language/Preposition after "to be"


Dear Shannon,

Have you ever been to India?" Why the preposition "to" and not "in" is used? I think "I am/was in India" is correct but I am also not sure whether "I have been in India" is correct.

Thanks & best regards,
Antoine Ghannoum

The prepositions to/at/in has always caused a lot of confusion, and in my opinion, there is no very clear rule.  Usually, when we talk about travel to a destination, we use "to."  I don't know if we would ever say, "I have been in India," because that also indicates travel.  However, it would be correct to say, "I was in India for three weeks."  You can see the difference is treating India as a travel destination versus India as a location where you actually stayed for some time.

English as a Second Language

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Shannon Cole


I can answer questions related to learning the English and Spanish language.


I have taught ESL and Spanish since 1998 at the university and middle school levels. I am a native of the U.S., and have taught in both the U.S. and Mexico.

I am owner and operator of www.coleinstitute.com, an online language school.

Georgia TESOL in Action (1999)

B.A. in Spanish; M.Ed. in Language Education

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I have clients worldwide, some who want their documents proofread, and others who take lessons with me through the Internet. Some work at high-profile companies and government organizations. Besides the U.S. and Mexico, my recent students come from South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, Colombia, Russia, Italy, Paraguay, China, Japan, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia.

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