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What is the difference between these sentences?

You tried

and

You did try

I have always used tried but then I heard did try in some film. I have tried to find something about it, but I am still not sure. Thank you in advance.

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  • Check how to use quotation marks in English. It is not the same as in many other languages “ starts a quote and ” ends it.
    – James K
    Jul 16, 2019 at 20:45
  • clue: use of emphatic auxiliaries.
    – Lambie
    Apr 27, 2020 at 13:08

1 Answer 1

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Generally, when we mean to say something in the past, and use DID + verb in affirmative, it reinforces that the action, in fact, happened. For example:

Anne: You didn't give me a present for my birthday...
John: No way! I gave you a present, it was a new dress!

vs

Anne: You didn't give me a present for my birthday...
John: No way! I did give you a present, it was a new dress!

In the first case, the phrase is plain objective. The second case, however, feels more appealing to the meaning that the situation (giving a present) really happened.

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  • You should have made your answer more accurate by noting that the auxiliary "do" (and "does') and its past-tense variant are used to negate a statement. This use is NOT limited to the past tense.
    – Apollyon
    Jul 31, 2019 at 4:48
  • And please mind your grammar. "I did give you a present, it was a new dress!" contains the blatant error known as the comma splice.
    – Apollyon
    Jul 31, 2019 at 4:50
  • @Apollyon Take it easy. There is no comma splice if this is spoken English.
    – Lambie
    Apr 27, 2020 at 13:14

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