My understanding is that when we say "this morning", it refers to a definite time in the past.

If yes, then, "did you take your medicine this morning?" , is the correct question.

If no, then, it should be "have you taken the medicine this morning?".

Or can they be interchanged without any impact on the meaning?

Does "this morning" implies to a definite time in the past?

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    Yes, both versions are fine: "Did you take your medicine this morning?" and "Have you taken your medicine this morning?" -- Both a simple past and also a present-perfect is acceptable here for this specific situation. – F.E. Oct 2 '14 at 22:30

Yes, they can be interchanged, but when a keyword such as "this morning" (when meaning is past), you should use the past simple:

Did you take your medicine this morning ?

A list of tenses' keywords Here.

The next answer is "Yes", "this morning" implies to a definite time in the past, but note that it can be used to refer to the near future as well:

This morning, I'm going to study 2 lessons.

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  • The use of the present perfect can convey many things. It is perfectly natural, normal and grammatical here. – user6951 Oct 3 '14 at 4:37

To answer your last question, it depends. In your example:

Did you take your medicine this morning?

you are asking whether someone did something already (in the past), regardless of whether it is still morning or not. So past tense is OK.

If you want to keep it in the present, you could say:

Are you taking your medicine this morning?

and it would be implied it is still morning.

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Yes and no.

"This morning", "1993", "Tuesday" or even "before breakfast" are all definite points in time from a grammatical standpoint. The action has occured during that point, once, with unspecified duration.

You'd use Present Perfect when talking about a period of time - "for 10 years", "since breakfast", "all my life", etc. The action either has a specified duration ("I've lived here all my life"), or reoccurs constantly during that period ("I've played guitar since I was 16").

So there's no difference in meaning, but Present Perfect is ungrammatical here (though it's not a big mistake in everyday speech).

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  • I find the labeling of present perfect as ungrammatical here as problematic. There are plenty more times we use the present perfect than what has been mentioned in this answer. – user6951 Oct 3 '14 at 4:34
  • @CarSmack while there are more uses, none of them really matter in the context (which is "a tense that goes with specific point in the past" - and it's really one of the most basic distinctions that Past Simple goes with points and Present Perfect with periods). Again, it's not a big mistake in everyday speech, since they're often used interchangeably - bot when you see "this morning" on a grammar test, you can be relatively sure they expect Past Simple. – Maciej Stachowski Oct 3 '14 at 8:14
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    I don't acknowledge "Have you taken your medicine this morning?" to be a mistake of any size. This construction is so fixed and so common and so natural. – user6951 Oct 3 '14 at 13:18

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