Response to "Did you turn off the lights?"

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Gergedan Cemil

Senior Member
Turkish
Hello everyone,
Let's say John and George are housemates and they're going out. When they're at the door, John asks George, "Did you turn off the lights?" George is not sure so he checks if he did, and sees they're off.
In this context, can George tell John these?:
"They were turned off."
"They are turned off."
"Yes, I did."
To me, the first two clearly means that he'd turned them off before John asked him, but I suppose the third one can also mean he did after John asked. So, is there a way to clarify that the third one means he'd turned them off beforehand?
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The third option is, I'd say, the most natural option of the three, and it does imply that he had turned them off before John asked him.

    If he hadn't already turned them off, he is likely to say something like 'No, I didn't, but I have now.'
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "They were turned off": I checked and found that they had already been turned off (presumably by me).
    "They are turned off": Their present condition is off.
    "Yes I did": I checked and verified that I had already turned them off.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "They were turned off": I checked and found that they had already been turned off (presumably by me).
    or "They were turned off": I thought you wanted them on, but they were off so I turned them back on.
    (This has happened at my house.)
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    George went back in the house and verified that the lights were off. That is, the current state of the lights was "off". George assumed that he turned them off, because they were off.

    He did not check that. And that might be wrong. Maybe John turned them off.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    If he hadn't already turned them off, he is likely to say something like 'No, I didn't, but I have now.'
    Yes, you can leave out the first bit and just say 'I have (done so) now', and it will also carry that meaning.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    It doesn't work for me. You'll have to wait for AmE speakers to say if that version is OK.
     
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