I'm going to meet one of my friend next week. I want to ask about her feeling when her son announced that he will get married with a foreign girl. (Maybe her son announced 1 month ago, I want to ask her feeling right at that moment)

  • Did you surprise?
  • Have you surprised?

Which one should I use? What is the difference between these two questions?
Thank you!

  • surprise needs an object. – Lambie Jul 13 '18 at 16:40

Honestly speaking, neither one sounds particularly right. After all, it wasn't her who made somebody surprised. On the contrary, it was her son's decision to marry a foreign woman that surprised her. In other words, she was not the source of her surprise. The source of her surprise was her son's decision to get married. So, I would recommend you use this sentence instead:

Did it surprise you?

or a more verbose version:

Did your son's decision to marry a foreign woman surprise you?

Notice that I'm using the simple past tense here. That's because the action you're speaking about took place in the past and is not connected to the present. Therefore, this is not a present perfect situation.

|improve this answer|||||
  • thank you so much, i didn't realize that. By the way, could I ask you one more question? If I and my friend who is the mother of the son in this story are attending the wedding of the couple, do I have to change the tense of the question into present perfect?? – Huong Jul 13 '18 at 16:23
  • @Huong - We recommend that you don't accept an answer too quickly. – J.R. Jul 13 '18 at 16:30
  • 2
    Another grammatical version of the short question would be: Were you surprised? – J.R. Jul 13 '18 at 16:31
  • 1
    @Huong No need for the present perfect. Leave it as a simple past tense. All these actions are completely in the past. – Michael Rybkin Jul 13 '18 at 16:34

As stated in the comments, the verb "Surprise" needs an object so your questions should be in a passive speech:

Were you surprised?

|improve this answer|||||

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.