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Did you read? vs. Have you read?

 
 
Latolya
 
Reply Thu 2 May, 2013 04:55 am
Hello. Please, help me figure out the difference (if there is any) between these two questions one might ask you.
1) "Did you read the book ?"
2) "Have you read the book?"

Could you please clarify the following - Is there any difference in what EACH OF the questions focuses on? And if there is any, does it depend on the verb tense used or on a verb itself? What does a person who asks these questions actually want to know in each case ? Please, match 1 and 2 with A, B.

A) The one who asks, just wants to know whether the activity of reading that particular book (the action) took place or not. He DOES NOT want to find out whether you've read the book till the end or not. He's literally interested in whether you ever held the book in hands and read at least a piece of it .
OR
B) The one who asks actually focuses NOT on whether the activity of reading took place or not, BUT wants to know whether you've finished reading it (whether you've read the book entirely, not just a piece of it)

The same thing with "Did you clean the windows?" and "Have you cleaned the windows?" and other similar verbs. Does the use of the Present Perfect in the examples "Have you washed? cleaned? read?" imply that the one who asks wants to find out whether the action has come to an end, whether it is completed or not (are the windows clean now? is the book read completely and you now the plot or main idea of it now ?) And what meaning does a question using the Past Simple carry- Did you read? clean? wash? etc??????

Thank you.
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Type: Question • Score: 1 • Views: 10,541 • Replies: 6
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engineer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 May, 2013 05:55 am
@Latolya,
These sentences mean the same thing. Neither A nor B are correct.
Latolya
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 May, 2013 06:00 am
@engineer,
what would a good understanding of these questions be then?
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Thu 2 May, 2013 07:23 am
@Latolya,
The questioner wants to know whether you have read the book. If you answer "yes" it means you read and understood the entire book. If you read only part of it you would need to clarify your answer: "I've read part of it." If you read it but didn't understand it you would likewise clarify "I read it but I didn't understand it."

If someone asked if you cleaned with windows, the pattern is similar. If you answer "yes", the windows are clean. If the windows are something less than entirely clean, you need to clarify your response.
0 Replies
 
dalehileman
 
  0  
Reply Thu 2 May, 2013 10:45 am
@Latolya,
Lat I'm impressed by your determination as esl. At 82 with a BS in journ and subsequent credentials as writer I've never asked myself similar q's

So I asked by Better Half who is much smarter than I, and she couldn't see any essential diff. Maybe 1) is slightly more insistent

…while 2) might imply that you've had other dealings with the book besides reading it: But have you read the book", the implication that you could have performed several other acts upon it, having chosen in particular to read it rather than simply turning the pages

Did you kill him
Yes, I did so by shooting him in the chest

Have you killed him
I thought about him for a while, then seduced his wife; but murder is still on the agenda
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 May, 2013 04:45 pm
@Latolya,

Quote:
Hello. Please, help me figure out the difference (if there is any) between these two questions one might ask you.
1) "Did you read the book ?"
2) "Have you read the book?"


The questioner in each case assumes that you have read all of the book.
There is no suggestion, from the questions, that only a partial reading took place.
For that, you would need to use a different form of words.
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 May, 2013 03:44 am
@McTag,

Well, that's very interesting and helpful.
0 Replies
 
 

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