Have you ever, Did you ever, Do you ever

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hplv1561w

Member
Việt Nam
Please help me tell the difference:
1. Have you ever taken a taxi?
2. Did you ever take a taxi?
3. Do you ever take a taxi?
 
  • JillN

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    1. Have you ever taken a taxi in your whole life?
    2. This one has the same meaning as #1, but is less common (at least in the USA), and usually if you say it this way, you're going to add some description to narrow the question, like "Did you ever take a taxi in New York City?" or "Did you ever take a taxi and then remember that you didn't have any cash?"
    3. This is the present tense. The person is asking if taking a taxi is something you do in your current life.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Have you ever taken a taxi? = Have you ever taken one in the past? Here the past is unspecified. The questioner would like to know if the listener has ever done this in the past.
    Did you ever take a taxi? Here the question highlights the idea of "have you ever done this - even one time?
    Do you ever take a taxi? The question asks about the listener's travel habits. Using "do" highlights the idea that the listener does take taxis as a matter of custom or habit. Using "do" also asks if the listener still uses taxis in the present.

    In ordinary conversations, these three questions could really ask the same thing. Native speakers might use them interchangeably without any specific difference in mind.
     

    don hersey

    New Member
    english usa
    good answer!
    There are two main kinds of present perfect, the up-to-now present perfect, which is obligatory in both British and American English ('How long have you lived in London?') and the result present perfect ('I have finished my homework' = 'I am free'). It is this second present perfect that the British accuse Americans of being insufficiently addicted to the perfect. 'Ever' is associated with the perfect tense because it means 'at any time' and very often this means 'at any time up to now', in which case of course it needs a present perfect.



    But notice the opening words of the song 'Christmas' by the Who, a British band: 'Did you ever see the faces of the children?' The thing is that 'ever' can mean 'at any time during some time period which is now closed, which period can be inferred from the context. In this case the sentence has a closed past time expression in it, so a present perfect is not only not reauired, it is prohibited. A clear example of this is the following scenario. You have come back from a visit to Rome, of let us say one month. Before you left I recommended you go to a certain restaurant. Now you are back. The word 'ever' cannot possibly mean 'up to now' because now you can"t go that restaurant. I ask 'Did you ever go to that restaurant?' and 'ever' means 'at any time during that month, (which is now entirely in the past)'. A quick search of 'did you ever' on the BBC site gives an example regarding Frank Sinatra, 'did you ever see hi!m live?' Again, easy to see that 'ever' means 'at any time when he was alive'.



    Going back to the Who song, there is certainly nothing wrong with 'have you ever seen the faces?' It is a question of stylistic choice whether the speaker chooses to regard the time period covered by 'ever" is, for some reason, closed, or not. And it does not always make a great deal of difference. I feel the main benefit of 'did' here is just sound; it is a lot more of a percussive word than 'have', and this song starts right off with a bang. Also, English ways of refering to time are complex and ambiguous, so it is not always clear whether a phrase means up to right now or not. Plus you can mix both kinds of perfect together, so "have you ever seen Sinatra is not impossible, though I think people would find it odd enough that they would want to correct you.



    Hope this helps

    Don
     
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    nike20008

    Senior Member
    French
    Did you ever take a taxi? Here the question highlights the idea of "have you ever done this - even one time?
    Forgive me, but I would say here the question focus on a difinitive period of time in the past. E.g "Did you ever take a taxi when you were in middle school". "Even one time" could apply to either "have you ever" or "did you ever ".
     
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    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Here is an example of how I might use "Did you ever take a taxi?". Somebody tells me about taking trains to work regularly when he used to live in another city. I might very well ask "Did you ever take/use a taxi?" That would be a normal question to ask in that situation. I don't want to know about the taxis he may have taken since he left that city, so I use "Did you ever take a taxi?" rather than "Have you ever taken a taxi?". It means "Did you ever take a taxi (when you lived there)?"

    "Did" definitely refers to something that occurred in the past. It isn't meant to convey present meaning as "Have you ever taken a taxi?" does. I didn't mention anything about tense in post #3. That may have led you and Nike to believe that I thought "Did you ever take a taxi?" referred to the present moment. That wasn't my point. I was trying to tell you that "did" limits the amount of time under consideration.
     
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