Results 1 to 3 of 3
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Thai
      • Home Country:
      • Thailand
      • Current Location:
      • Thailand

    • Join Date: May 2011
    • Posts: 143
    #1

    Past Simple VS Past Continuous VS Present Perfect

    Hello,

    Which tense is the most appropriate in the following context? If they are all possible, can you explain the difference in nuance?

    A: I have broken your favourite vase. I'm so sorry.
    B: Oh, no! What [did you do/have you done/were you doing]?

    Thank you.

    Nawee

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 3,505
    #2

    Re: Past Simple VS Past Continuous VS Present Perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by naweewra View Post
    Hello,

    Which tense is the most appropriate in the following context? If they are all possible, can you explain the difference in nuance?

    A: I have broken your favourite vase. I'm so sorry.
    B: Oh, no! What [did you do/have you done/were you doing]?

    Thank you.

    Nawee
    Given the context and reaction of/at the moment, all three are likely responses with little difference in meaning and all expecting some explanation of how it happened. But "What were you doing?" is a more direct request for an explanation of the actions leading up to the accident.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,091
    #3

    Re: Past Simple VS Past Continuous VS Present Perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by naweewra View Post
    Hello,

    Which tense is the most appropriate in the following context? If they are all possible, can you explain the difference in nuance?

    A: I have broken your favourite vase. I'm so sorry.
    B: Oh, no! What [did you do/have you done/were you doing]?

    Thank you.

    Nawee
    For me, only "What were you doing?" makes sense.
    "What have you done?" has just been answered. You normally ask a question before the answer is given.
    "What did you do?" shares a similar problem to the above. He broke your vase. You know that.

    More common would be a "How" question. "How did you manage to do that?!" "What were you doing" has the merits of including an implicit 'how'. "What were you doing that led to your breaking my vase?"

Similar Threads

  1. [Grammar] past simple or past perfect continuous ?????
    By azkad in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 11-Jan-2012, 00:54
  2. [Grammar] past perfect continuous and simple past
    By dilodi83 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 17-Dec-2011, 11:08
  3. [Grammar] Past simple VS Present perfect continuous.
    By The French in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 13-Sep-2009, 11:54
  4. [Grammar] Past simple, past continuous and past perfect
    By fuadha in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 18-Aug-2009, 12:17
  5. simple past - past perfect continuous interrogativedifferences
    By Unregistered9996 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 26-Dec-2007, 04:05

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
  •