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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?"
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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.

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  • "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

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