Student or Learner
" Did you finish yet?"
I did a test "present perfect or past simple" and it said that sentence was right , but my teacher said it was wrong because there is no specific past time... and the right sentence is " have you finished yet?" ???
The sentence, "Did you finish?" is simple Past tense, used when the action is complete, done, over - that is, finished! The simple Past is devoid of any conception of a 'period of time' up to NOW - it implies an instant that separates UNFINISHED|FINISHED, and that this 'instant' is remote from NOW
"yet" means 'up until the present; by now'. This conflicts with the nature and sense of the Past tense form of the verb.
Hence, we would have to say:
Did you finish in time?
Did you finish (the job) on/by Thursday?
The time references here are consistent with 'an instant in time' occurring, the point at which 'finished' occurred.
If we are referring to a 'period of time', extending from some time in the past to the present NOW, then we use the Present Perfect:
Have you finished yet?
Last edited by David L.; 28-Sep-2008 at 02:55.
"Did you finish (yet)?" and "Have you finished (yet)?" have the same meaning and also have the same relationship to a 'period of time'. The 'period of time' in both is from when you (could)(should)(might) have started to do something, or actually did start, until the time the question is being asked. It's a simple as that, in my opinion.
Last edited by 2006; 26-Sep-2008 at 01:17. Reason: an addition
Raymott pointed out that the construction is common in Amer. Eng., (where so much incorrect grammar has become commonplace -my editorial comment ... and for me to continue: the next to be enshrined as 'correct' would seem to be 'had went'.
I was indicating why, in Brit. Eng, we do not use that construction, but rather still conform to the traditional grammar...and tried to show the reasoning for that adherence.
The French take great pride in their language. I would be most interested to learn how well France considers that the French Canadians have respected and taken good care of their 'gift' to them.
Last edited by David L.; 26-Sep-2008 at 18:18.
No doubt there is a noticeable amount of 'bad English' in America, but I have no doubt there also is in all English-speaking countries.
And in this forum, I would comment on the incorrect grammar demonstrated in both.
But "the reasoning" you showed doesn't seem valid. If you prefer to use perfect tense of couse you can, but you shouldn't make untrue claims about simple past tense.
What false claims? Please elucidate.
The meaning with simple past tense is just as clear as that with perferct tense, and the grammar is just as correct.
Of course...of course, if correct grammar is used, both past and present perfect have clarity of meaning; and further, the choice indicates the person's perspective. My issue was with the use of the time reference 'yet', not the tense! I gave examples in both tenses!
By contrast, the past simple is used to refer to complete events in the past, the non-now. Therefore the past simple (I assume) cannot be used with an adverb which denotes the equivelant of: at this present time.
Did you finish your essay yesterday?
You wouldn't say: did you pick up John yet?, or did you eat your dinner yet? (or would you?).
The present perfect, on the other hand, is used to refer to past events relative to the present (for instance, the result of a past event or a status update of an event which began in the past).
Have you finished yet? means: at this moment in time, have you finsihed what you were doing/had to do?
I am not a teacher; I am still a learner: these thoughts represent my current understanding and reflect my awareness of language use here in England, but I do not (for one minute) hold them to be irrefutable.