Results 1 to 4 of 4
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Czech
      • Home Country:
      • Czech Republic
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Nov 2010
    • Posts: 73
    #1

    Tenses

    Hi,
    could anyone check if I got this right? If not could you correct all the nonsense Iīm gonna mention?
    (1) Have you been to the post office today?
    - this sentence presupposes that the working hours have not ended yet so that if you havenīt been there yet you may still go there and by this question you may also ask someone whether the letters (you already know about) are posted now so it may indirectly imply something like: If you havenīt been there yet you should go there to post the letters
    (2) Were you at the post office today?
    - the post office is already closed and you just ask someone (maybe out of interest) whether or not he was at the post office as he told you that he would go there.
    I also wonder whether I could use the first sentence if I want to know whether the letters are posted now even though the post ofice is already closed. If not then how how could I say it instead.
    Thanks

  1. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #2

    Re: Tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Kudla View Post
    Hi,
    cCould anyone check if I got this right? If not could you correct all the nonsense Iīm gonna going to mention?
    As this is an English Language forum, we prefer people to use the normal conventions of written English. Thanks.

    (1) Have you been to the post office today? Fine
    - this sentence presupposes that the working hours have not ended yet so that if you havenīt been there yet you may still go there and by this question you may also ask someone whether the letters (you already know about) are posted now so it may indirectly imply something like: If you havenīt been there yet you should go there to post the letters. Good

    (2) Were you at the post office today?
    - the post office is already closed and you just ask someone (maybe out of interest) whether or not he was at the post office as he told you that he would go there. Good analysis for Br E, though we are possibly more likely to say, 'Did you go to the post office today?' For speakers of AmE, this could also be a natural equivalent of #1 for speakers of BrE

    I also wonder whether I could use the first sentence if I want to know whether the letters are posted now even though the post ofice is already closed. It's possible, provided that both you and the person you are speaking to know that the letters were supposed to be posted. However, 'Did you go to the post office?' is more likely.
    5

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Apr 2009
    • Posts: 670
    #3

    Re: Tenses

    (1) Have you been to the post office today?
    (2) Were you at the post office today?

    Why do you read these so differently? Neither say anything or imply anything about the state of the post office now. If you come home on your lunch break, and ask your wife/husband either question, nothing tells you if the post office is open or closed, nor need it do so. I would say 1) = 2).

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,221
    #4

    Re: Tenses

    This American speaker reads them as explained above.

    Have you been = There is still a chance to go if you haven't.
    Were you = At some point earlier in the day, were you there. (Perhaps I thought I saw you.)
    Did you go = You had mentioned at some point in the past your intention of going to the post office and I want to know if you followed through.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

Similar Threads

  1. tenses
    By natasha in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 25-Apr-2009, 05:17
  2. tenses again
    By Hanka in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-Aug-2007, 11:32
  3. Tenses
    By Kenneth in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 28-Jul-2007, 11:16
  4. tenses
    By Hanka in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 05-Jul-2007, 23:29
  5. Future tenses or Future perfect tenses?
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 06-Mar-2006, 13:14

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •