Let's say someone has asked you about gun-related crime. It goes like this:

Were you ever scared of gun crime in the world?


Have you been scared of gun crime in the world?

What is the difference between these two? To my understanding, the occurence is still happening in the present.

1 Answer 1


When you were a child, were you ever scared of the dark?

The action is not still happening in the present with the past tense. The past tense is silent about the present.

The question

Were you ever scared of the dark?

is not asking if you are still scared of the dark these days. The question is confined to the past, unlike the present perfect, which does not exclude the present.

Have you ever been scared of the dark?
-- I am scared of the dark at this very moment. You look very frightening in the gloom.

  • When you add "ever" it means from the past until the present right? I get it that sentence1 is a past occurence by context, but why did it has "ever"?
    – John Arvin
    Dec 7, 2018 at 14:34
  • 1
    @John Arvin. No, that is incorrect. ever means "at any time during the time-frame in question". When you were out at sea, were you ever afraid the boat would sink?
    – TimR
    Dec 7, 2018 at 14:42
  • Oh I see, thx, that's an awesome info. that just corrected what I thought about the "ever" function. Anyway, I don't like this newest update on this site, the left part (home, question, tags, etc) is too spacious that it has taken up the main page here.
    – John Arvin
    Dec 7, 2018 at 17:05

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