Student or Learner
"When did you see her?"
"When have you seen her"?
Does this expressions have the same meaning and can they both be used indifferently?
Thank you for your corrections.
Well, if they don't mean the same I'm afraid I'm not sure to understand the difference, but I will try:
"When did you see her": the person who is asking this question assumes that I saw the girl a long time ago (?)
"When have you seen her": the person thinks that I've just seen her (?)
"When did you see her?" - At what point in the past (distant or recent) did you see her?
This is the form we would normally expect.
"Whan have you seen her?" -At what point(s) in your life has seeing her been part of your life experience?
We might see this form in a conversation such as this:
A: The Queen is very short when you see her close up.
B: Oh, and when have you seen her close up?
Last edited by 5jj; 04-Jul-2012 at 15:22. Reason: typos
Please allow me to ask a question here.
Up until now I've had an idea that "when (as an interrogative adverb)" can't be used with the present perfect.
And it is what I've taught to many Japanese students.
How do you respond to the question "Oh, and when have you seen her close up?"
Do you use the simple past? Or...is it possible to use the present perfect?
P.S. I've just visited another forum. And the answer I've found there is... "When have you..." is possible when expressing doubt.
Last edited by tzfujimino; 04-Jul-2012 at 18:15.
In the first question, 'when' means specifically 'at which time in the past?', and implies expectation of an answer involving a definite past time adverbial such as 'last week/yesterday/in 1993', whereas in the second it means rather 'at what sort of time?', referring, not to a uniquely past time, but to a cyclically recurrent one (such as 'whenever the weather is good/in the spring, when the daffodils are out', etc.), i.e. one capable of occurring again at some point in the future.
Thus, for example, the question "When have you been to London?" - in addition to possibly indicating doubt on the part of the speaker as to whether the addressee has ever actually performed the act in question - could quite legitimately elicit an answer such as "Every time I've had to take a party of sightseers to Buckingham Palace!", i.e. one naturally entailing the possibility that the speaker may well engage in this action again at some future time.
I think a secondary part of the answer is that "When have you seen her?" is very rarely used. I think a much more common and more clearly understandable example would be in a similar pair of "Where" questions:
Where did you see her? (once, recently or long ago)
Where have you seen her? (perhaps several times in the past, leading into the present, cyclically or randomly)
I don't like my own answer above, because I thought of times when I would ask or be asked, "When have you seen her?" ... and my answer might be that I've seen her every Thursday evening at a certain coffee shop on my way home from work.... and the implication is that I may possibly see her again today on the way home from work.
The formal textbook answer is this:
did you see (or saw) = simple past tense; an action that was completed in the past.
have you seen = present perfect tense; an action that happened in the past and may still be incomplete. It is expected that it can happen again.