[Grammar] "What's the strangest thing you've ever seen?"

beachboy

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Is the question above correct? If so, would the answer be "The strangest thing I've ever seen IS ..."? Not "was"?
 

beachboy

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The question is correct.

The strangest thing I have ever seen is/was/has been.
All are possible.

Can I use any of the three possibilities even if the question is "What IS the strangest......?"
 

Rover_KE

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That's the same question.

What's
means What is.
 

Raymott

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I would use "is". "You have ever seen" is a present tense (the present perfect). It refers to your current "strangest thing I've ever seen" status. I can't think of a need for a different verb there.
 

beachboy

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I didn't make myself clear. My question is: Are all these three questions right?

1) What IS the strangest thing you've ever seen?
2) What WAS the strangest thing you've ever seen?
3) What HAS BEEN the strangest thing you've ever seen?

And I would also like to know if the three answers (using "is", "was" and "has been) would be acceptable for any of the three questions.
 

emsr2d2

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The first is the most likely and natural.
The second, for me, would be "What was the strangest thing you had ever seen?" or, possibly, "What was the strangest thing you ever saw?"
The third is very unlikely.

As far as the responses go, bear in mind that most native speakers wouldn't necessarily bother repeating the verb, no matter what it is.

What is the strangest thing you've ever seen?
A cow stuck in a tree!

What is the strangest thing you've ever seen?
I once saw a naked man eating a bagel in a coffee shop.

What was the strangest thing you ever saw?
Last week, I saw a UFO!

(Edit: The third option, with "was" and "saw" is unlikely in BrE but I think it might be more common in AmE.)
 
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beachboy

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I would use "is". "You have ever seen" is a present tense (the present perfect). It refers to your current "strangest thing I've ever seen" status. I can't think of a need for a different verb there.

Ah, ok, Raymott. I posted before reading your comment.
 

cricketj16

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My thought is that it should be "What is .....?. This makes the question current and allows for the reply to include anything up to the present moment. I believe that for the other two options to make sense, the question would need a qualifier.
 
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Raymott

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I agree with ems that 'is' might not be the choice for Americans.
 

emsr2d2

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I agree with ems that 'is' might not be the choice for Americans.

I should have been clearer. I wasn't questioning the use of "was" on its own. I was referring to the combination of "was" and "saw". In BrE, we tend to use "was" and "have ever seen". I was under the impression that even "What is the strangest thing you ever saw?" is acceptable in AmE, whereas BrE would use "What is ... have ever seen?"
 
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