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Is it possible to say:

"Have you ever seen Amy Winehouse in concert?"

"Have you had the experience of seeing her perform?"

Present perfect because this experience will stay with you as long as you live.

Or should I use the past simple, because she is dead and the concert you might have experienced is in the past?

"Did you see Amy Winehouse in concert?

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  • If you have seen her in the past, like Andy says, you have the experience now of having seen her.
    – anouk
    Oct 18, 2021 at 17:59
  • "By staying with you" I mean it is part of your life experience. I have had the experience of having seen her in concert at some point in my life. A past action that is important in the present.
    – anouk
    Oct 18, 2021 at 18:06
  • "Present perfect because this experience will stay with you as long as you live." is not true.
    – Lambie
    Oct 18, 2021 at 18:08
  • Life experience is one of the usages of pp. I've been to Paris, I've seen that movie, etc. Like Andy says, once you've seen her, you cannot undo that.
    – anouk
    Oct 18, 2021 at 18:13

3 Answers 3

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Either one is possible.

The first example is still correct even though Amy Winehouse is dead, because it asks about the hearer's experience in life.

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Both are applicable, although there will be slightly different connotations.

Have you ever seen Amy Winehouse in concert?

Once you have, you always have seen her. "Have you ever eaten sushi?" The eating might be long ago, the sushi might be long gone, but either you have or you haven't.

Did you see ___ in concert?

If you opened a conversation this way, and especially if the artist were currently performing, I might assume that you're talking about a specific concert in the recent past, much like "Did you catch last night's episode of The Great British Baking Show?" Since the simple past tense is more "located" in time, this use carries a hint of that implication, while the present perfect is asking about your present condition based on an undetermined past.

Mind you, the context could still make it clear. "Amy Winehouse was amazing in concert. Of course, no one can experience that live any more. Did you see her in concert?" ... would be understood to be general in scope.

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    did refers to a specific instance or time in the past. have refers to anytime in the past, no specifics. Did you see her in concert [last week, last month, before she died]?. versus Have you seen Madonna in concert [at any time in the past up to now]?
    – Lambie
    Oct 18, 2021 at 17:43
  • @Lambie True. Though the contextualized usage I gave at the end basically short-circuits that by implying "Did you [ever] see her..." Oct 18, 2021 at 17:46
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    Andy, the standard grammar is: Have you ever seen her versus Did you see her?
    – Lambie
    Oct 18, 2021 at 18:02
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    When speaking of a deceased artist, I would say Did you ever see...? Oct 19, 2021 at 9:08
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    Have you ever seen Bon Jovi in concert? The band has been in the music business for about 30 years, and they are still performing. There is a chance that you can see them play in the future. Did you ever see Elvis Presley singing live? The artist has been dead since 1977, the likelihood of seeing him sing live is zero. The PP is often used for experiences that can be repeated in the present and the future.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 27, 2021 at 21:34
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I think you can use both because both are past experiences, well probably it's more recently past actions if you use the p.s.

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