Student or Learner
Can we say : Did you ever go whale watching ?
or for example, "Did you ever wonder why the sky is blue?"
Or Do we have to use only the present perfect with "ever" in such questions?
Is it absolutely wrong to use the simple past tense with "ever"? Or is it just not standard English ?
I'll be thankful for all your answers and I'll really appreciate a spesified and detialed answer.
Thanks in advance.
Either. There's a preference for using the present perfect after "ever" in Br. English (and, more generally, an acceptance in Am. English of the simple past of "do" with adverbs of time - 'Did you have your breakfast yet?', which would sound alien to a British ear [but increasingly acceptable because of TV and film]).
But even Br English accepts some cases of "did... ever": 'Did you ever see such a thing?' I imagine this is acceptable because the question is rhetorical. If the speaker (in Br English*) was really asking about someone's life experience they would use the present perfect: 'Have you ever swum with sharks?'
Possibly, though, the close association of 'did' 'ever' and 'see such a thing' comes from the nursery rhyme Three Blind Mice - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (yet another case of an originally Br English usage - like 'fall' to mean autumn - preserved in Am. English).
*PS Added after posting, after notes clash. Incidentally, olj, traffic in this forum is very fast. So your post may disappear almost immediately from page 1 of 'Today's posts'; use the display option 'My Posts'.
Last edited by BobK; 13-Nov-2008 at 11:51. Reason: Added PS