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  1. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #1

    Have you walked here? Did you walk here?

    The eternal question about the difference between the present perfect and past simple :

    While reading the movie script of "Pride and Prejudice" and comparing it to what the actors actually say in the movie, I noticed that in the movie they changed the phrase said by Caroline Bingley from "Have you walked here?" (in the script) to "Did you walk here?" (in the movie). I think it was done to attract attention to the process of Elizabeth's going to Mr Bingley's house through the mud, not to the result (her dress was dirty).

    Still, my question is: how would the meaning have changed had they used the initial phrase with the present perfect?

    Here's the extract:

    Bingley's house
    FOOTMAN
    Miss Elizabeth Bennet.
    Lizzie comes in, her face flushed, her skirt covered in mud. She looks ravishing. Darcy stares at her, then quickly rises to his feet. Caroline Bingley, astonished, looks her up and down.

    CAROLINE BINGLEY
    Good Lord, Miss Bennet. Have you walked here?

    ELIZABETH
    I'm so sorry. How is my sister?
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 30-Jun-2014 at 13:31. Reason: Removed unnecessary line breaks
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

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    #2

    Re: Have you walked here? Did you walk here?

    As she's covered in mud and is still flushed, I'd probably use the present perfect. How did they say it in the movie? You might be able to place greater emphasis on did than have to express surprise. However, there's not a huge difference to be honest.

  2. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Have you walked here? Did you walk here?

    In the movie they used the past simple ("Did you walk here?"). The lady who said it wanted to show her contempt to the girl who had walked through the mud and had not ridden. She was not surprised, but wanted to demonstrate her contempt. Does it make any difference as to the use of the tenses?
    Can it be so, that a person simply asks for information (the way you would ask) uses the present perfect and the woman who dislikes the girl uses the past simple? Or am I being too meticulous about it?
    Last edited by englishhobby; 01-Jul-2014 at 07:25.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Have you walked here? Did you walk here?

    In AmE, there would be no difference. We use the perfect tenses less frequently than our British brethren.

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    #5

    Re: Have you walked here? Did you walk here?

    I think you can convey greater force through did than have simply because of the sounds, so it could be contempt where I talked of surprise. However, I wouldn't dwell too much on this as you might get locked into over-meticulousness.

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