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I would like to ask whether this sentence is grammatically correct or not:

I asked her many questions that I had before.

I think it sounds better if I say "I asked her many questions that I have had before".

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closed as too localized by simchona, Kris, kiamlaluno, tenfour, Mitch Feb 24 '12 at 14:57

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Hi Fumble Fingers, thank you for editing. So which one is correct? "I asked her many questions that I have had before?" or "I asked her many questions that I had before." ? – Part Timer Feb 18 '12 at 1:35
Neither. I think you want "I asked her many questions that I had had before." – Peter Shor Feb 18 '12 at 2:00
PT, answer depends on what you mean to say. Which, if either, of "I asked many questions that I had asked before" or "I asked her many questions that I had asked her before" do you mean? By the way, one can fit have into sentences like "I asked her many questions that I have often asked", but your mix of "I asked ... I have had" (past tense form and present perfect form) discomfits my ear. – jwpat7 Feb 18 '12 at 2:07
The student actually wants to write - "she asked her many questions that she always had in her mind." Means, the questions that she has in her mind since before, now is being asked and answered. – Part Timer Feb 18 '12 at 5:12
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think the first question we need to ask is this: Do you mean, "I asked her many questions that I had asked her in the past" or do you mean, "I have had many questions in the past and I asked her these questions now?"

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Thank you Jim, I think she means - "I asked her many questions that I have had in the past". Is this grammatically correct? – Part Timer Feb 18 '12 at 5:14
+1 The OP is ambiguous. – Kris Feb 18 '12 at 5:40
@PartTimer, It depends on how in the past is interpreted. If it refers to a period of time that is finished, then the past simple is required. E,g. "In the past I had many questions about this issue (but now I don't)". If, on the other hand, you interpret the past as continuing into the present, then the present perfect is acceptable. Three examples from Google: "I admit it, in the past I have googled myself", "In the past I have composed music inspired by magic squares", "In the past I have only done films where I have played the lead". – Shoe Feb 18 '12 at 10:22
Shoe, thanks for the explaination. Based on the situation, I guess the correct sentence should be - "I asked her a lot of questions which I had had before." – Part Timer Feb 19 '12 at 0:51
Shoe, I want to confirm the following: - 1. Past Simple tense and present perfect tense should not appeared in one sentence. Correct? so that is why my first sentence is wrong because i put Past Simple and Present Perfect together in a sentence. How do you explained : In the past I have composed music inspired by magic squares? You are talking about past right? And I thought present perfect is for 'present tense'? I don't quite get it. – Part Timer Feb 19 '12 at 0:57

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