- 1 Post By TheParser
Ate vs Eaten
The other day, I was talking to a friend and this conversation stuck out in my mind.
Me: Have you eaten yet?
Friend: Yes, I have eaten.
I felt something strange about the use of 'eaten' instead of 'ate'. Both are in past tense but is there rule for when I should use 'ate' and what other times should I use 'eaten'?
Re: Ate vs Eaten
Hi, I think "ate" is the only past form of the verb "eat" and "eaten" is the past participate form, it is usually used with the auxilliary "have/has".
Hope this can help.
Thank you !
Re: Ate vs Eaten
********** NOT A TEACHER **********
Originally Posted by Ulysses
(1) I think that it might be easier to understand if we refer to a
(2) Tom: Have you eaten breakfast yet?
Martha: Yes, I have. / No, I haven't.
Tom would probably ask that question in the morning hours because the
word breakfast reminds us of the morning.
If Tom asked a question at, for example, 2:30 p.m., he would probably
Did you eat breakfast today? (The morning is past.)
(And Martha would reply: Yes, I did./ No, I didn't. I was too busy./ I wasn't hungry.)
If it is 2:30 p.m., you could say to your friend:
I know how busy you have been today. Have you eaten lunch yet?
Your friend might answer: No, I haven't. The boss has kept me very
busy. I'm going to have lunch now. Do you want to join me? And you
might say: Oh, thanks a lot, but I have already eaten lunch. (In
"regular" English, you could say: Oh, thanks, but I ate lunch. It would be
"perfect" English if you added the time: Oh, thanks, but I ate lunch at
If it were 7:30 p.m., you might ask: Have you eaten yet? It would not
be necessary to say "dinner," because we think of "dinner" when it is
evening time. Of course, the next day, you would ask: By the way, did
you eat dinner last night? Your friend would answer: Yes, I did./ No, I
didn't. I didn't feel well last night.
When it comes to meals, you use the present perfect (Have you eaten?)
when it is the proper time of the day for breakfast or lunch or dinner.
You use the past (Did you eat?) when you ask about a meal that usually
occurs in an earlier part of the day. (At 7:30 p.m., you would ask:
Did you eat lunch today? The word lunch makes us think of the
afternoon -- not the evening.)
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