What is difference between the following statements:

  1. Did you tell your parents yet?
  2. Have you told your parents yet?
  3. Haven't you told your parents yet?

Are these questions correct? why do we use one over another in some cases? What is the difference in meaning?

  • 1
    Any decent English grammar book can answer all three of your questions. That's what grammar books are for. Here on ELL, people only answer specific questions you might have that cannot be answered by consulting a grammar book or a dictionary. Commented Nov 13, 2018 at 15:55
  • 1
    To my British ears, 1) is American, and I would never say it. Only 2 and 3 in British English.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Nov 13, 2018 at 17:15
  • 1
    The temporal adverb 'yet' makes the present perfect work much better than past tense. The question with 'not' can't be unambiguously answered by a simple 'yes' or 'no'.
    – amI
    Commented Nov 13, 2018 at 17:52
  • @ColinFine to quote Henry Higgins, "There even are places where English completely disappears / Well in America, they haven't used it for years! " :)
    – Andrew
    Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 17:08
  • 1) is not American per se. Don't for one minute think that uneducated BrE speakers don't use that. It's just that the US has millions of speakers, so the likelihood of hearing it via the media may be greater.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 28, 2022 at 20:07

1 Answer 1


Both "Did you tell your parents yet?" and "Have you told your parents yet?" mean the same thing: you're just asking for information. As Colin mentioned in his comment, there may be cultural differences there. For me (in Canada), both sound equally common, but that may not be so in British English.

"Haven't you told your parents yet?" asks for the same information, but also expresses that you think the person should have done so already.

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