Experience

Express occurence in an unspecified past time

remembering
 

 

Indefinite past

PAST – INDEFINITE

The past tense without an adverb is understood as having occurred at an indefinite (unspecified) time in the past. It is an experience that ended before the time of speaking and is no longer relevant to the current time frame.                        

ACTIVITY SOME UNSPECIFIED TIME IN THE PAST

Ruth:  My family and I saw the Tower of Pisa on our trip to Italy.

Bob:   Did you like it?  /   *I saw it too.

She mentions a past activity with not particular reference to time. He continues the topic. He does not relate his experience.

Ruth:  We drove from Pisa to Florence.

Bob:   Ah, you went to Florence too? 

Ruth:  Yes. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to see it all.

Bob: I don't think that we did either. There's so much to see.

PRESENT PERFECT– INDEFINTE

The present perfect without an adverb is understood as having occurred at an indefinite time in the past. It occurred either recently or is mentioned as experience relating to whatever the speaker is discussing in the current time frame.

RELATING EXPERIENCE – SOME TIME IN THE PAST

Ruth:  My family and I saw the Tower of Pisa on our trip to Italy.

Bob: I have have seen the Tower of Pisa too.  Interesting site isn't it?

She mentions a recent trip. He relates his past experience to her present conversational topic.

Ruth:  We drove from Pisa to Florence. Have you been there?

Bob:  Yes, I have been to Florence also. It's beautiful, isn't it?

Ruth:  Yes. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to see it all.

Bob: We have also regretted that we didn't stay there longer.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Present Perfect Adverbs

Experience—unspecified time

 

 

 

Ever / Never

QUESTION STATEMENT NEGATIVE

A present perfect question with the adverb (1) ever expresses a direct question; (2) never expresses the speaker's doubt or disbelief.

The present perfect may express experience or no experience.

A negative statement or question about experience includes a negative verb or a negative adverb – not both.

Have you ever been to Italy?
speaker: a direct question

No, I haven't  / Yes, I have.

You have been to Italy.  experience

You haven't ever been to Italy. statement

Have you never been to Italy?
speaker: I think you have.

No, I haven't  / Yes, I have. 
( Yes, I haven't. – error)  

You have never been to Italy.  no experience

You have never been to Italy. statement

You haven't ever been to Italy, have you?
tag-question
– I think you haven't.
 

*You  have ever been to Italy.

*You haven't never been to Italy.  double negative

 

 

 

Ever / Never & Before

EVER / NEVER

Have you ever visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

Yes, I have.   Yes, I have seen it .      (experience exists)

No, I haven't. No, I haven't seen it.   (experience  doesn't exist)

No, I haven't ever seen it.  (negative verb is used with ever)

No , I have never seen it.  (experience  doesn't exist - more emphasis)

No , I've never seen it.  (I have can contract to I've)

BEFORE

Have you visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa before?

Yes, I have.   Yes, I have seen it.      (experience exists)

No, I haven't. No, I haven't seen it.   (experience  doesn't exist)

Yes, I have seen it before(experience  doesn't exist - emphasis)

No, I haven't seen it before(experience  doesn't exist - emphasis)

No, I've not seen it before. (experience  doesn't exist - emphasis)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Present Perfect

Adverbs expressing experience

 

 

 

Adverbs for experience — past vs. present perfect

PAST TENSE –DEFINITE

The past tense – when used for experience – may occur with no adverb or an adverb indicating a specific time, a "calendar time" (day, month, year), or a frequency of occurrence.

AT, IN, ON AGO, LAST

A specific time in the past (calendar or clock times)

A past time based on quantity or calendar units

at 6:00 AM(at noon, at midnight)

a day ago (second, minute, hour, , week, month, year)  

on January 10 (Thursday)

last night (week, month, winter, year) 

in January (month)  / in 2006  (year) /

yesterday

 

in the 1960s (the 1800s, the early times)

that Monday (week, month, year)  

PRESENT PERFECT – INDEFINITE

The present perfect – when used for experience – may occur with no adverb or with an adverb of recency or frequency of occurrence.

EVER / BEFORE RECENTLY

An adverb of frequency or zero frequency.

Use with activities that are completed but still within the speaker's present frame of mind.

always (routinely, customarily, normally)

recently (lately, just)

often (usually)

this week (morning,  evening, week, month, year – a time passed)

sometimes (occasionally, on occasion)

 

never (before, ever)

 

 

Also see Adverbs of Time  

 

 

 

Experience in past vs. present perfect

PAST – DEFINITE

An adverb expressing a specific time or a "calendar time" (day, week, month, year) indicates the timing of the experience.

A TIME IN THE PAST

My family saw the Tower of Pisa in June of 2012.

We were in Italy last summer.

We took a flight from Rome to New York yesterday.

PRESENT PERFECT – INDEFINTE

An adverb expressing any degree of frequency or experience (ever, never, before) indicates the timing of the experience.

A TIME IN THE RECENT PAST

My family has seen the Tower of Pisa before.

We have been in Italy often.

We've just taken a flight from Rome to New York.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes-No Short Answers

Respond positively or negatively

octopus
 

 

Present Perfect — yes /  no responses

YES

Whether the question is phrased in a positive or negative manner, yes occurs in the affirmative response with a positive auxiliary verb.

POSITIVE QUESTION

Have you ever eaten octopus?

Yes, I have.

NEGATIVE QUESTION

Haven't you ever / Have you never eaten octopus? a doubtful question

Yes, I have.  / *No, I have.

NO

Whether the question is phrased in a positive or negative manner, no occurs in the negative response with a negative auxiliary verb.

POSITIVE QUESTION

Have you ever eaten octopus?

No, I haven't.

NEGATIVE QUESTION

Haven't you ever / Have you never eaten octopus? a doubtful question

No, I haven't.  / *Yes, I haven't.

 

*Incorrect usage

 

 

 

Double Negatives

DOUBLE NEGATIVE STATEMENTS

Speakers avoid using double negatives in business and academic English. Informally, double negatives might be used for emphasis.

Have you eaten octopus?

I  haven't ever eaten octopus.

I *haven't never  eaten octopus.   very informal, mostly in speech – used for emphasis

I haven't never eaten no octopus. I won't never eat no octopus.    very informal, a triple negative!

DOUBLE NEGATIVE SHORT RESPONSES

When responding to a negative question, a speaker will respond to the question as if it were positively phrased.  (The negative phrasing expresses speaker's doubt or disbelief.)

Haven't you ever eaten octopus?  a doubtful question

No, I haven't.

Have you ever eaten octopus?   a simple question

No, I haven't.

*Haven't you never eaten octopus? 

 

Related page   Pop-Q "yes-no" .  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Word Order

Placing Emphasis

bail out
 

 

Strong emphasis vs. mild emphasis

STRONG EMPHASIS

Emphasis is created by placing the adverb before the sentence AND placing the auxiliary verb before the subject and the main verb ("fronting").

Never   have  we seen  such a financial mess.

Never   have  we had to have a financial bailout before.

Never   did      we  expect such a thing to happen.

          move the adverb forward
Never
should we should never allow this to happen.

MILD EMPHASIS

Slightly less emphasis is created by placing the adverb before the auxiliary and main verb.

We    never  have seen such a financial mess before.

We    never have had to have a financial bailout before.

We    never  expect such a thing to happen.

           move adverb before auxiliary
We
never  should never allow this to happen.

 

 

 

 

Normal Placement

NORMAL

The adverb is normally placed before the main verb (and after any auxiliary verbs).

We    should  never allow this to happen again.

FINAL SENTENCE POSITION

In writing, words closer to the beginning of the sentence carry more emphasis.  In speech, intonation determines word emphasis regardless of position in the sentence

We  shouldn't allow this to happen again ever.

We  shouldn't allow this to happen again — ever!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

Errors and solutions

ERROR SOLUTION

Have you ever visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa?
* Yes, I have visited it in June.    incompatible tense and time word

Yes, I visited it in June.   (Use past tense with a definite time in the past.)
Yes, I have visited it.       (Use present perfect with an unspecified time – no adverb. )
Yes, I have visited it recently. (Use present perfect with a relative, but indefinite time –recently. )
 

He hasn't never been there.    double negative

He hasn't ever been there.
He hasn't been there.
 

Haven't you ever eaten octopus?   /  Have you never eaten octopus. 

Yes, I haven't.    /  No, I have.     mixed positive and negative words in the response
 

Haven't you ever… / Have you never
In a negative question, the speaker expresses doubt that the experience has happened or existed.
The speaker expects a negative response; however, the response may very well be positive.

No, I haven't.    /  Yes, I have.
In an affirmative response,
yes occurs with a positive verb. In a negative response, no occurs with a negative verb. While this does not follow + / logic, this this is how we respond.
 

"Never we have to have a financial bailout of banking institutions in the U.S. before."  missing auxiliary verb

Never have we had to have a financial bailout of banking institutions in the U.S. before.  missing verb – see section above "Word order and Emphasis"
 

pop-question solution 101208Pop-Q " Never"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Earthquake Experience

San Francisco earthquake
 

 

Complete the sentence.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the Check 1-14" button at the bottom, or click the "Check" button to the left  as you go.

 

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Practice 2

Short Answers

headache
 

 

Complete the sentence.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check 15-22" button at the bottom, or click the "Check" button to the left  as you go.

 

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