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I'm having trouble figuring out what tenses to use in a question with two verbs. For instance:

  • Have you cleaned the mess you made?
  • Have you cleaned the mess you have made?
  • Have you cleaned the mess you had made?
  • Did you clean the mess you made?
  • Did you clean the mess you have made?

Which one is correct and why?

  • One test that might often be helpful: look at the corresponding declarative clause version and see how it sounds to you. E.g. "Tom has cleaned up the mess (that) he made", for your 1st example. "Tom has cleaned up the mess (that) he has made", for your 2nd example. etc. – F.E. Mar 3 '15 at 23:01
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I would stick with you made because at the time of the question (cleaning time) I imagine the mess was already made, so it is completely in the past. So simple past is fine.

So either of these is OK; some other context would be needed to decide between them.

Have you cleaned up the mess you made?
Did you clean up the mess you made?

In this context, the phrase clean up is more appropriate.

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