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I <haven't seen / didn't see> you [Present Perfect vs Past Tense]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by sebi12, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. sebi12 Junior Member

    Romanian
    Could you help me with these tenses?

    Peter met Robert at school yesterday morning and told him: “I (not to see) you at the bus stop this morning. You (to miss) the bus?” “I (not to miss) it,” answered Peter. “I haven’t missed the bus for months. But this morning my neighbor (to give) me a lift.”

    My answers: haven’t seen, Have you missed, haven’t missed, has given

    Correct answers: didn’t see, Did you miss, did not miss, gave
     
  2. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    Yes, these answers are correct. They refer to individual completed actions in the past.

    On the other hand, 'I haven’t missed the bus for months' refers to an ongoing situation which continues to be the case.
     
  3. KHS

    KHS Senior Member

    didn't see --> a finished event at a *known time* in the past
    Did you miss --> we have located the time in the first sentence, so this continues to be at a known time in the past
    didn't miss --> finished action (albeit negative) at a known time
    gave --> finished action at a known time in the past

    Here's a flow chart that works about 90% of the time for positive statements:

    http://karen.stanley.people.cpcc.edu/docs for Grammar III/beautifulflowchart.pdf
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012
  4. theworldissmall Junior Member

    Russian, Belarusian
    If there is an indication of exact moment of time in the past when the event took place, Past Simple is used instead, not Present Perfect. "This morning" may be considered as that exact time in the past when something happened. However, in the exercise there is one fault, in my opinion, in the beginning where it is said that "Peter met Robert at school yesterday morning...". But if the mentioned moment of time is still ongoing, Present Perfect should be used, not Past Simple (the boys start speaking in the morning about something that occurred still in the morning). Thus, I would use the first verb in Present Perfect (I haven't seen you at the bus this morning (it is still morning!!!!). All the following verbs are used in their Past Simple forms as there is no relation to the present situation any more, i.e., the conversation is about something what happened in the past (an hour ago, for instance). I was taught such rule at the university, but, maybe, native speakers have different opinion.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012
  5. theworldissmall Junior Member

    Russian, Belarusian
    I wonder, if the text book was published in the English speaking country, or by a local author. As I was a teacher (though about 10 years ago), I know pretty well that there are often mistakes in text-books, especially language questions are very controversial.
     
  6. sebi12 Junior Member

    Romanian
    Thank you for your answers, but I want to know why theworldissmall's answer isn't correct (2 native speakers have said something else above).
    To theworldissmall:
    1. The text book was published by a local author.
    2. Why don't we use all verbs with Perfect Simple because we know already the time ("this morning")? "This morning" isn't used in every sentence because it would not sound very well. I mean that the text "could" have been like this: Peter met Robert at school yesterday morning and told him: “I (not to see) you at the bus stop this morning. You (to miss) the bus this morning?” “I (not to miss) it this morning,” answered Peter. “I haven’t missed the bus for months. But this morning my neighbor (to give) me a lift.”
    And another question: in the last sentence "But this morning my neighbor (to give) me a lift." the time is mentioned. Why not Present Perfect (it is still morning...)?
     
  7. theworldissmall Junior Member

    Russian, Belarusian
    To sebi12: it is a general rule, when you start the conversation, you may make your inquiry in Present Perfect, and then "switch to" Past Simple. For instance: Have you read this book? - Oh, yes. Did you like it? - It was so cool! Maybe, native speakers did not read the beginning of the text attentively, and they mostly rely on intuition, not on rules, but I strongly feel that IN THIS CASE the first verb shall be in Present Perfect, while the others - in Past Simple. I would like to hear more detailed explanation of this, too (why not Present Perfect for the first verb).
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012
  8. theworldissmall Junior Member

    Russian, Belarusian
    "This morning" must not be used in every phrase. It is enough to mention it once, then it will be implied further on. But it is just my reccomendation, I do not insist on accepting it, in any case
    :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012
  9. BestEnglishTeacher New Member

    Poland
    English
    Past Simple is used for completed actions in the past. "I didn't see you at work today" (I will not see you because I have now left work).

    Present Perfect is used for talking about actions which continue into the present. "I haven't seen you at work today" (but I might see you later because I am still at work).

    Even though the morning is not complete we use the past simple because the action is complete and will not continue.
     
  10. boozer Senior Member

    Bulgaria
    Bulgarian
    Forget about the morning. :) The suggestion is that they are still on the bus and probably have been for days :D, while the context clearly rules this out...

    Past simple is the right choice. In other circumstances the present perfect would be possible perhaps. But not here.
     
  11. theworldissmall Junior Member

    Russian, Belarusian
    Yes, this works, guys...(embarrased)
     
  12. sebi12 Junior Member

    Romanian
    Thank you very much for your answers!
    I've understood 2 new things:
    1. "This morning" + Present Perfect/Past Simple
    2. A conversation can be started with Present Perfect and continued with Past Simple

    Thanks again! :)
     

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