3

A: I have a fever

I would think B needs to response

B: Have you taken anything (medicine) for it? (an action happened in the past but we don't know when it happened)

or

B: Did you take anything (medicine) for it? (an action happened in the past & we know when it happened)

or

B: Are you taking anything (medicine) for it? (an action that is happening, probably the doctor gave him medicine for 7 days & he is in the middle of taking medicine)

But if B response:

B: Do you take anything for it? (This does not make sense since simple present tense is used to say things that happen routinely such as daily / sometimes / always...)

Am I right?

2

I must first warn you that I cannot call out the technical differences between these responses, but can only give an impression of how they appear to a reader or listener.

Your question centers around the following exchange:

A: I have a fever

B: Do you take anything for it?

In the above, B's response feels wrong to me, particularly when the preferred response would be one among those which you've already called out in the first three responses.

However, I believe that "Do you take anything for it" is a valid response for a chronic or persistent condition:

A: I suffer from gout

B: Do you take anything for it?

Here, the response implies that A takes medication during an attack of gout, even though gout itself is a persistent problem that A suffers from.

At the same time, another valid response would be one that you've listed:

A: I suffer from gout

B: Are you taking anything for it?

A subtle difference here is that this response implies A is taking a medicine continuously to keep an ailment under control (as opposed to taking it only when the problem flares up).

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3

The response "Do you take anything for it?" would be valid usage if the responder is asking one of the following:

A) Do you take anything as a preventative against fever?

B) Do you always use a specific medicine against fever?

In both of the above examples, the question is about the person's current medical treatment of fevers rather than past actions, so present tense is ok.

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0

If I were B and I believed that A had a minor illness which only needed one course of medication I might ask, "Did you take anything (medicine) for it?" or "Have you taken anything (medicine) for it?". A headache or fever would fit into this category. If I thought the illness was more substantial. For example if A said to me, 'I have been diagnosed with angina' then I would assume that one course of medication would not be appropriate and would ask, 'Are you taking anything (medicine) for it?'

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  • I am not an expert on English grammar and have no formal qualifications English. I offer my advice as a native British English speaker. I believe the advice of an untrained English speaker can sometimes be beneficial – RedPython Mar 23 '17 at 14:01
  • so, in which cases can I say "Do you take anything for it?" – Tom Mar 23 '17 at 14:05
  • That would be for an on-going illness. Anita: "I have angina" Bob. "Oh, do you take anything for it?" – RedPython Mar 23 '17 at 14:54

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