I haven't caught her name, or I didn't catch her name?

Whereby, in which cases should a native use the first or the second form above?

1 Answer 1


"I haven't caught her name," implies that you haven't done so yet, but that might change in the future. Meanwhile, "I didn't catch her name" just states a condition, with no expectation or additional nuance.

Consider the following:

I have caught ten fish

I caught ten fish.

The use of the present perfect tense implies that you're not yet done fishing, and you might catch more. The use of the past tense simply states a fact, and nothing else. In the same way:

I've not caught any fish.

indicates an ongoing situation, where you might still catch a fish, while:

I didn't catch any fish

just says what happened. Of course I can follow up with a question, to ask if you're still fishing, or if you plan to catch more. But that information isn't in the statement itself.

To return to your question, a native speaker might say either "haven't caught", or "didn't catch". It depends on context. If you're not sure, then "didn't catch" is more generic and should fit with any context.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .