Took and taken, part 3
Over the past two weeks, we’ve looked at the past simple (I took) and the present perfect (I’ve taken) tenses. For example:
- Last week I took a computer course. (“last week” is finished time)
- I have taken several computer courses this year. (“this year” is unfinished time)
Now let’s look at a slightly less clear case. Which of the following questions sounds better to you?
1. “Have you taken a lunch break today?” –or-
2. “Did you take a lunch break today?”
This is a trick question. Both of the above sentences are correct, depending on when you ask the question.
At 1:00 pm, you can ask your colleague:
“Have you taken a lunch break today?” (Your colleague could still take a lunch break if he / she hasn’t done so yet. “Lunch time” is still unfinished time at 1:00.)
At 5:00 pm, you can ask your colleague:
“Did you take a lunch break today?” (“Lunch time” is finished time at 5:00 – it is clearly over. There will be no more opportunities for your colleague to take a lunch break today.)
Here are some more examples.
- At any time during the day: “I have drunk lots of coffee today.” (You could still drink some more.)
- At bedtime: “I drank lots of coffee today.” (No more opportunities to drink coffee.)
- At any time during the year: “Ralf has lost a lot of money in stocks this year.”
- On December 31st: “Ralf lost a lot of money in stocks this year.”