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    #1

    "didn't have plans" or "don't have plans"

    Hello,

    I'm confused by the B's answer in the following conversation.

    Why does B use past simple tense in "I didn't have any big plans"?
    Could he or she say "I don't have any big plans"?

    If so, what is the difference?

    Conversation:
    A: Hey, Robert, what are you doing this weekend?
    B: I didn't have any big plans.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "didn't have plans" or "don't have plans"

    I think the present tense would be better.

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    #3

    Re: "didn't have plans" or "don't have plans"

    But I also noticed the past simple tense was used a lot.

    Another sentense - "let's have a plan."

    I believe the word "have" here means "make". It's an action verb.

    So I guess maybe the "have" in B's answer also means "make".

    So "I didn't have any plans" = "I didn't make any plans". Is it possible?

    I know native speakers tend to use past tenses to express politeness. Is it possible B's answer is a polite satement?

    I'm looking forward to your answer.

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by ChrisZhao; 08-May-2015 at 01:34.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: "didn't have plans" or "don't have plans"

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisZhao View Post
    But I also noticed the past simple tense was used a lot.

    Another sentence - "let's have a plan."

    I believe here the word "have" means "make". It's an action verb.

    So I guess maybe the "have" in B's answer also means "make".

    So "I didn't have any plans" = "I didn't make any plans". Is it possible?
    No.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisZhao View Post
    I know native speakers tend to use past tenses to express politeness. Is it possible B's answer is a polite statement?
    That's true - sometimes we do. It could be a sort of invitation to propose a plan. "I didn't have any plans, but if you suggest something, that might work!"
    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.

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    #5

    Re: "didn't have plans" or "don't have plans"

    Good explanation.

    It seems I still have a long way to go to be able to feel the politeness from the past tenses.

    Thank you very much!

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