Use of did you ever/already/never (is wrong?)

Nat 1 3
My teacher said today that use of DID YOU EVER/ALREADY/NEVER is wrong. It's always possible with Have you...(present perfect) but, looking at a nightwish song (for example) and in other uncontable songs, it's totaly common.
is it wrong or not?

The song: bye bye beautiful
Did you ever hear what I told you
Did you ever read what I wrote you
Did you ever listen to what we played
Did you ever let in what the world said
Did we get this far just to feel your hate
Did we play to become only pawns in the game

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5 respostas
Donay Mendonça 22 107 1.6k

Não entendi bem sua pergunta, que pode ser feita em português, mas todos os usos de "ever" estão de acordo com o inglês falado por nativos.

Did you ever hear what I told you?
Did you ever read what I wrote you?
Did you ever listen to what we played?
Did you ever let in what the world said?

*Acredito que seu professor cometeu um engano. Sugiro fazer as próximas perguntas em português, isto permite que alunos iniciantes entendam melhor e aprendam com sua dúvida, além do fato de podermos dar uma resposta mais precisa.

Bons estudos!
Henry Cunha 3 18 183
Donay, I wouldn't exactly call the teacher wrong in this case, altho you're right that such things are commonly said. What's happening here is something of a clash in verbal timelines. Careful speakers and writers will almost certainly always prefer, for example, "Have you ever read what I wrote you?" As to "Did you never...?", it's clearly wrong; it has to be in the affirmative form "You have never..." even in the interrogative.

The timeline issue is the following. The questioner is asking about behaviour across a period of time, as implied by the use of "ever". This invokes the use of "Have you ever listened/read/spoken/etc". For a discrete event, then one can ask "Did you hear what I said?," for instance, but "ever" can't be part of the utterance.

Comments? All the best.
Donay Mendonça 22 107 1.6k

Yes, it does make sense. The use of structures like "did...ever...?","did...yet?", etc is considered grammatically wrong by some, although people use it a lot, especially in AmE. I understand what you meant and agree with you. But we'll still see a lot of "Did you ever...?" and "did you...yet?"

All the best,
First of all, I'd like to thank everyone involved with this site. It's great and comes in handy many times.

That's my first post here, and to comment on such a disputed subject may seem snotty, but I'll try it anyway.

I've been around digging the net after this explanation (and so much others, to improve my English), and they came up by dozens - some make sense to me, some don't.

(Almost) In a nutshell:

1) "Did you ever" is indeed used as a non-standard/informal substitute for "Have you ever" in the US; that's what I've been told by people who lived there and by some reliable internet forums;

2) Trying to clear out if there was a 'proper' usage for it, I found out a few comments.
It can be used in two (less incorrect, at least) ways - one similar to the present perfect, and another meaning something like "after all". The latter would possibly replace the sentence "After all, did you ...?", without the 'ever'. I know the simple past covers this, it probably is a matter of emphasis.

a)If we are talking about a "definite time", or a certain period of time, finished, intending to say "at least once (during that time)". As in "Did you ever play 'hide-and-seek' when you were a kid?", which is a very different approach from "Have you ever played hide-and-seek" - you may have, but after childhood.

I think the key here is to remember the "when", whether it's explicit or not.

However, I really can't tell if there's such use for "Have you ever" together with "when", as in "Have you ever played hopscotch when you where a kid?". The one with the 'simple past', in my opinion, fits better here.

b) If I know a friend of mine was going to invite a girl to a party, but I didn't hang around to see what happened, or I haven't seen him since then, I can ask "Did you ever invite her?", meaning something like "After all, did you invite her?". It emphasizes the expectation feeling. I think that's what the song is trying to say.

I'm not stating this as grammatically correct, but at least they're plausible explanations, aren't they?

Take care.
[Corrections are welcome]
Henry Cunha 3 18 183
Kco, good post. I have some further thoughts.

As to your first point, well, "did you ever" doesn't always substitute "have you ever" even in informal American English. There is a difference, which I think you yourself point out toward the end of your post:

You are correct. "Have you ever played hopscotch when you w[h]ere a kid?" does not work. "Have you ever" implies events up to the present time, which is not applicable if you're referring to an event decidedly in the past ("when you were a kid"). So use the simple past, with "ever", meaning "at any time during your childhood".

As to the party invitation, "Did you ever invite her?" is the proper tense. Expectation or curiosity aside, the reference is to a discrete single event in the past. Again, "ever" stands for "at any time" in the past. "Have you ever invited her?" would not work if you're referring to that particular event (that one party).