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  1. #1
    nelson13 is offline Member
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    Default Didn't I tell you/haven't I told you....

    A doesn't know something, and I want to tell A that X is Y:

    Didn't I tell you/haven't I told you that X is Y

    Which one is correct?

    DIDN'T seems acceptable because I can use the past tense to refer to an understood past time
    (=Didn't I tell you X is Y before our conversation began?)

    HAVEN'T seems acceptable because I am linking the past to the present result, which result is your knowledge of it.


    Or does the usage vary from region to region?

  2. #2
    englishlisteningworld is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Didn't I tell you/haven't I told you....

    From a conversational point of view they are virtually the same. there is a slight nuance that is different, - (the continuing nature of the state of not having told,) but this is mostly immaterial in most situations. the communicative effect is virtually the same.

  3. #3
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Didn't I tell you/haven't I told you....

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson13 View Post
    A doesn't know something, and I want to tell A that X is Y:

    Didn't I tell you/haven't I told you that X is Y

    Which one is correct?

    DIDN'T seems acceptable because I can use the past tense to refer to an understood past time
    (=Didn't I tell you X is Y before our conversation began?)

    HAVEN'T seems acceptable because I am linking the past to the present result, which result is your knowledge of it.


    Or does the usage vary from region to region?
    The usage varies with region. North Americans often use the simple past where the rest of us use the present perfect.
    You use the same rules as you would for other uses of these tenses.
    "Didn't I tell you?" (Yesterday, last week, at some specific time in the past).
    "Haven't I told you?" (Yet, up until now)

  4. #4
    nelson13 is offline Member
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    Default Re: Didn't I tell you/haven't I told you....

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    The usage varies with region. North Americans often use the simple past where the rest of us use the present perfect.
    You use the same rules as you would for other uses of these tenses.
    "Didn't I tell you?" (Yesterday, last week, at some specific time in the past).
    "Haven't I told you?" (Yet, up until now)
    Thank you.

    Sometimes I am afraid the HAVEN'T structure is illogical. Could anyone point out my mistake?:
    The reason is that when I say Haven't I told you, the answer is either YES YOU HAVE or NO YOU HAVEN'T, but at the time of hearing the question of HAVEN'T I TOLD YOU X IS Y, a transient moment before offering an answer, the answerer will have known X IS Y, so how can the answerer say NO YOU HAVEN'T? But the answer to Didn't I tell you seems to be free from this contradiction, because when the answerer says NO YOU DIDN'T, the absolutely logical non-shortened form is NO YOU DIDN'T, BEFORE YOU ASKED ME THIS QUESTION.

  5. #5
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    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Didn't I tell you/haven't I told you....

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson13 View Post
    Thank you.

    Sometimes I am afraid the HAVEN'T structure is illogical. Could anyone point out my mistake?:
    The reason is that when I say Haven't I told you, the answer is either YES YOU HAVE or NO YOU HAVEN'T, but at the time of hearing the question of HAVEN'T I TOLD YOU X IS Y, a transient moment before offering an answer, the answerer will have known X IS Y, so how can the answerer say NO YOU HAVEN'T? But the answer to Didn't I tell you seems to be free from this contradiction, because when the answerer says NO YOU DIDN'T, the absolutely logical non-shortened form is NO YOU DIDN'T, BEFORE YOU ASKED ME THIS QUESTION.
    Sure. You can answer "Haven't I told you that you're not coming?" with "No, you hadn't until just then", if you want to be really logical.

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