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Does it mean "did you see something you like?" or "do you see something you like?"?

I just saw it on a TV show (Westworld-Ep2) and I'm wondering.

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  • Do you understand the difference between the tenses simple present and simple past? (By the way, scripts of television programs and films often use constructions of which an English teacher would disapprove. It doesn't matter, and no-one cares.) Jul 17, 2017 at 1:06
  • If you're talking about the difference between for example I saw / I have seen, yes I understand the difference the latter have some relation with the present though it's more used in england and the former in the US. ( I focus on learning vocabulary I don't memorize the names of tenses) thanks for the answer. Jul 17, 2017 at 14:31
  • Expanding on Colin's comment: the Google search engine just indexes millions of random websites, created by people from all over the world. It has little or no value as a learning resource. Use an English language dictionary, and read English language works of fiction and non-fiction (such as history or biography) to increase your fluency. Jul 17, 2017 at 18:07

2 Answers 2

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Either. Depends entirely on context. If the person is currently looking, "Do you"; if they have stopped looking, "did you".

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  • I just typed did you see something you like on google and found did you see something you ''Liked'' , so I think it's the do you see something you like. Jul 17, 2017 at 0:11
  • Yes "see something you liked" is more likely if the meaning is in the past; but "Did you see something you like?" is still possible.
    – Colin Fine
    Jul 17, 2017 at 13:37
  • Note that Googling for something like this is not necessarily very helpful.: you've not usually any way of telling whether the phrases you found were written by native English speakers or not.
    – Colin Fine
    Jul 17, 2017 at 14:56
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A shop assistant might ask a customer who is looking through a rail of dresses 'Do you see something you like?', shortened to 'See something you like?' On returning home, her husband might ask 'Did you see something you liked?', or just 'See something you liked?' (but 'liked' would agree with the tense of 'did').

The mix of tenses in "Did you see something you like?" makes it a bit unlikely to be used. I can imagine a scenario where, returning from the cinema, you're asked "Did you see something you like?" meaning a class of movie rather than a specific one. Was it a comedy (which you like) rather than a Western (which you dont)? This is getting a bit contrived though.

A simple 'See something you like?' might be a cheeky response from a women to a man who had been 'checking her out'. This is a quite likely reading if the source was Western popular culture such as a TV show! And I suspect it's the right meaning here.

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  • "See something you liked" doesn't make sense, it implies the wife no longer likes it. "See something you like?" can also mean "Did you see something you like?" (the seeing is in the past, but the wife continues to like it)
    – Erin
    Jan 24, 2019 at 1:43
  • None the less, "Did you see something you liked?" is standard colloquial useage. If there's a distinction, 'liked' might refer to a specific item, 'like' to a class of items'. I LIKED the blue dress. I LIKE clothes. (So I bought one dress that I LIKED particularly. I still like it.)
    – Laurence
    Jan 24, 2019 at 14:21
  • Colloquial in which country? It sounds quite weird to my Australian ears. If I saw that written, I would understand what was meant, but would assume the writer was ESL.
    – Erin
    Jan 25, 2019 at 0:44
  • Sounds OK to my London, UK ears!
    – Laurence
    Jan 25, 2019 at 15:16

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