Which one is correct?

  1. The patient had dinner.
  2. The patient has had dinner.
  3. The patient has eaten dinner.
  4. Have you had your dinner?
  • 1
    The first three aren't proper sentences and need an article or determiner before "patient". The last is a question. "To have dinner" generally means to eat it, but it might mean "to be given dinner". Are you specifically interested in the present perfect "has had" or is there some other problem?
    – Stuart F
    Commented Mar 13 at 5:25
  • All the sentences are grammatically correct. You could be more specific about your question. Although they are all correct, the second and the third ones are quite similar in meaning. The first one is in the past perfect tense, which shows the action of eating finished before another point in the past. However, we don't normally use the past perfect tense alone: we generally use it with other past tenses to emphasise it finished before another action or a specific point in the past. And, the last one is question, which makes it completely different from the rest.
    – Ali E
    Commented Mar 13 at 5:46
  • Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Mar 13 at 5:46
  • This is unanswerable. In a simple sentence you can use any tense. "I eat fish", "I ate fish", "I've eaten fish" and "I'd eaten fish" are all correct. You can use any tense in questions too. I've voted to close.
    – James K
    Commented Mar 13 at 6:35
  • @AliE - They are not correct, as they don't begin with a capital letter - and the lack of an article in the first three make them look like notes rather than proper sentences. Commented Mar 13 at 8:59

1 Answer 1


All four sentences are grammatically correct, but they are used in different contexts:

  • The patient had dinner. - This is simple past tense, used for actions completed in the past.
  • The patient has had dinner. - This is present perfect tense, used to describe an action that occurred at an unspecified time before now.
  • The patient has eaten dinner. - This is also present perfect tense, similar to the previous one but with a focus on the action of eating.
  • Have you had your dinner? - This is a question in present perfect tense, often used to inquire about whether someone has completed their meal recently.

Each sentence can be correct depending on the timing and the context in which it is used.

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