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    #1

    Did you know... VS Have you ever known...

    Hi all,

    I have a student who is actually arguing with me that 'Have you ever known...' is correct when using it in the following example:

    'Have you ever known that Russia is the largest country in the world'

    Now as a native speaker this sentence sounds awkward and unnatural to me but I've been racking my brain and I can't think of any rules that support the fact that " Did you know..." would be more appropriate other than the fact that it's used more widely in this way.

    Am I wrong?. If you could provide a solid explanation and perhaps some links to help back me up I would be ever so greatful. I haven't been able to find the links myself.

    Thank you :)

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Did you know... VS Have you ever known...

    Quote Originally Posted by Roodie View Post
    Hi all,

    I have a student who is actually arguing with me that 'Have you ever known...' is correct when using it in the following example:

    'Have you ever known that Russia is the largest country in the world'

    Now as a native speaker this sentence sounds awkward and unnatural to me but I've been racking my brain and I can't think of any rules that support the fact that " Did you know..." would be more appropriate other than the fact that it's used more widely in this way.

    Am I wrong?. If you could provide a solid explanation and perhaps some links to help back me up I would be ever so grateful. I haven't been able to find the links myself.

    Thank you :)
    'Have you ever known that Russia is the largest country in the world' This is grammatically correct, but it implies that if you did know before, you have now forgotten.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Did you know... VS Have you ever known...

    Please do not post two threads on the same question, Roodie. I answered this one in your original thread.

    bhaisahab might have had some comment on, or correction of, my post if there had been only one. As it is, we have a needless duplication of answers,

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    #4

    Re: Did you know... VS Have you ever known...

    My apologies. I'm a new member and won't post do this again. You did both give me slightly different but extremely helpful answers. I have further questions however and I apologise again if I'm being a little slow to grasp this.

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    'Have you ever known that Russia is the largest country in the world' This is grammatically correct, but it implies that if you did know before, you have now forgotten.
    Thanks a bundle for the response and for the 'grateful' correction :) A mistake I can't seem to stop repeating.

    In the example 'Have you ever been to China?' I understand that the act of being in China is a finished action. Just as the above is something you did know before but have now forgotten. In other words the act of knowing is a finished action.

    But if we look at the example 'Did you know?' a past simple question which refers to a completed action in the past and which should have no bearing on the present, contrary to the present perfect. Why then is it more appropriate?. The act of knowing should be done and dusted in this case. "One of the reasons for rejecting' Have you ever known Russia is the biggest country in Europe' in its present form is that you cannot 'know' a fact for a time and then 'not know' it".

    Again I appreciate your help.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Did you know... VS Have you ever known...

    Quote Originally Posted by Roodie View Post
    But if we look at the example 'Did you know?' a past simple question which refers to a completed action in the past and which should have no bearing on the present, contrary to the present perfect. Why then is it more appropriate?.
    So far you are the only person who has thought it more appropriate. In the other thread I wrote, "I believe that the past simple form 'Did you ever know that Russia was ...' is also highly unlikely".

    This is not so much a matter of syntax as of semantics. "Have you ever known that ..." and "Did you ever know that" are unlikely sentences, for reasons I explained in the other thread. It's the combination of 'ever' and 'know that makes them unlikely, and the idea that we are unlikely to 'not-know' (as opposed to 'forget') something we once knew. If I did once know that Russia was the biggest country in the world, I can forget it, but I can't not-know it. If somebody asks me, "Do you know that Russia is the biggest country in the world", I do not say, "No"; I say, "Yes, but I had forgotten".

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    #6

    Re: Did you know... VS Have you ever known...

    Thanks again :)

    I don't see 'Did you ever know' as more appropriate but I've come across 'Did you know...' quite alot to the extent that it's almost a default sentence for stating interesting facts in the media (websites, social media, magazines, blogs etc).

    There is even a website titled did-you-knows dot com and a few others with .org and so on. Some examples are the following sentences I took from websites.

    • Did you know 11% of people are left handed.
    • Did you know a single ant can carry four times it's own body weight.

    Maybe it's a colloquialism in Australian English but what I really want to explain to my student is that 'Did you know...' should be used in place of 'Have you ever known...' because he wants to post a similar statement in his blog. I want to be able to support this explanation with rules and examples because the only reason I can give him now is that 'I am a native speaker and it sounds awkward and incorrect'...

    * Have you ever known that 11% of people are left handed.
    * Did you know 11% of people are left handed.

    Do you agree that the second example is more appropriate?

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    #7

    Re: Did you know... VS Have you ever known...

    * Have you ever known that 11% of people are left handed.
    * Did you know 11% of people are left handed.

    They both sound bad to me. Do you know would work. The past tense on the websites refers to before the visitor reached the site.

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    #8

    Re: Did you know... VS Have you ever known...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    They both sound bad to me. Do you know would work. The past tense on the websites refers to before the visitor reached the site.
    The first sounds bad to me, too, but I think the second is an example of a fairly common usage.

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    #9

    Re: Did you know... VS Have you ever known...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    They both sound bad to me. Do you know would work. The past tense on the websites refers to before the visitor reached the site.
    'Do you know' sounds ever so slightly awkward to me in this context. The website in the last post is not the only reference I found. If you search for the phrase in google you will get alot of hits.

    So I guess there are no rules?

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