The context: I am looking for a book at home. I can't find it anywhere. I think my roommate could help me.

  1. The roommate is still at home. I ask him/her "Have you seen the book?" I think that the form is correct here.
  2. The roommate is out (I'm calling him) and I am sure he/she will not come back untill I find the book. Should I say "Did you see the book" or "Have you seen the book?" From what I know about the difference between the Past Simple and the Present Perfect, I should choose the first one.
  3. The roommate is out, but there is a high probability that he/she could come back before I find the book. Again, should I say "Did you see the book" or "Have you seen the book?"

You should ask: "Have you seen the book?" because you are looking for it now and you want to know if he knows where it is.

If you ask:"Did you see the book?" you are talking about a past moment, with no relevance to the present.

  • "Why didn't you come to us?" "I couldn't, I broke my leg yesterday, I can't walk" - here we use PS, yet there is a connection between the past and the present. – piter00 Feb 6 at 22:36

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.