did receive, / have received the email. [present perfect]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Theo79, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. Theo79 New Member

    German
    Dear all,

    I am struggling the the use of the present perfect

    One such example is the word receive. When do I use „Did you receive the email?“ and „Have you received the email?“. In the same vein, I sometimes hear „I received the email“ or „I have received the email“

    When do I have to use the simple past?

    Thanks for your help.

    < Other question has its own thread.
    My wedding has been/was the best day [present perfect]
    Cagey,moderator>
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2018 at 8:11 PM
  2. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Senior Member

    Cumbria, UK
    British English
    Quite honestly it is not worth worrying which one is right in the examples you give, since either could be used with no difference in meaning and almost no difference in emphasis. The choice between them is largely down to personal preference.

    Both your examples refer to a single event in the past, not something that took place over a period of time (where the present perfect is used a little differently). Here, the main reason for using the present perfect is because the event has some significance in the present. With the email, the significance is clear, since you are really asking whether the person now has your email, perhaps because you now want to talk about it. In this situation, I would use the present perfect, but there is nothing wrong that I can see with using the simple past tense, particularly if you weren't going to continue by talking about the email.

    In a different situation, perhaps if you are recalling events in the past where receiving the email has no direct relevance to the present, then only the simple past works:
    Did you receive that email John sent last year where he compared the management to a bowl of goldfish?​

    < Discussion of 'wedding day' is now in the other thread. Cagey, moderator >
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2018 at 8:13 PM
  3. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    When you mention or assume a gap in time between a single event and "now":

    Did you receive the email yesterday that I sent the day before?:tick:
    Have you received the email yesterday that I sent the day before?:cross:

    < Discussion of 'wedding day' is now in the other thread. Cagey, moderator >
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2018 at 8:13 PM

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