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As far as I can tell, rephrasing Wikipedia, Simple Past draws attention to actual occurrence of the past action or event, as opposed to its present consequences. (See Present perfect).

Doesn't asking someone a question usually imply some consequences?

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2 Answers 2

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Here is an example. An man and wife are talking and the man says: "Did I tell you about the time I ate ten hamburgers?" The wife sighs and says "Yes honey, you've told me that story a hundred times!" (This sounds better with "Have I told you […]?" instead of "Did I tell you […]?")

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A man says to his wife "Did I tell you to turn the oven off before we left?" "Did I tell you […]?" is requesting a response.

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  • But aren't those questions of yours imply consequences? "Did I tell you about the time I ate ten hamburgers?" (If not, I'm gonna tell you that story). "Did I tell you to turn the oven off before we left?" (If not, I'm gonna ask you if you've done it, we can even return to turn it off).
    – x-yuri
    Jun 14, 2013 at 14:12
  • I might assume though, that it's not that there is no consequences, but the emphasis is on whether event has occured or not.
    – x-yuri
    Jun 14, 2013 at 14:16
  • Also, if "Did I tell you […]?" is requesting a response, what is "Have I told you […]?" then?
    – x-yuri
    Jun 14, 2013 at 14:17
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I'll give you an example from my own life. My wife and I work near each other and share a car. We have about a half hour ride home at the end of the day and we will have a conversation. Being that my attention is divided, I might not remember if I shared a certain detail of my day, or if I asked a particular question I intended to ask. I would then say "Did I tell you […]?" or "Did I ask you […]?"

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