There is this guy my friend usually sees in her school cafe. So today I texted my friend and wanted to ask her if she saw that guy in the cafe while my friend was still in school.

Which tense should I be using:

Do you see the guy in the cafe yet?

Did you see the guy in the cafe?

Have you seen the guy in the cafe?

  • I trimmed your question about in/at school because too many questions in one post can make a question off-topic. This other question may help with that one: ell.stackexchange.com/q/40439/9161 There is some advice for asking good questions in the contributor's guide
    – ColleenV
    Commented Feb 12 at 20:02
  • It's possible to ask Did you see the doctor yet? rather than the more "standard" Have you seen the doctor yet? when asking whether your sick friend has sought professional advice. But if you're a blind person waiting with your friend for a bus, it's not really possible to use the did you see version. You'd have to ask Have you seen the bus yet? - or more likely the Present Tense version Do you see the bus yet? (even more likely, Can you see the bus yet?). Commented Feb 12 at 20:22
  • 1
  • 1
    Do you mean you texted your friend while she was still in school, because your sentence is ambiguous? Did you expect that she'd be in the cafe when you texted her, or have already been in the cafe, or didn't know? Presumably you can tell by the time of day. If you expect your friend might be currently able to see the guy, then "Do" would be applicable; "Did you see the guy in the cafe?" is more general.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Feb 13 at 11:04

1 Answer 1


"...ask her if she saw that guy..."

You answer your own question here. To talk about the past, use a past tense. The simplest is the preterite "saw", which (with do support) is "did you see"

  • 1
    But if she's waiting to see the guy, you could ask "Do you/can you see him yet?" Commented Feb 13 at 9:40
  • And if you want to know if she is planning to see him you could ask "Will your see him?" or "Are you going to see him?" But in the situation as described in the question, which is about the past, use past tense.
    – James K
    Commented Feb 13 at 10:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .