In "Pragmmatic Programmer" by David Hunt and Andy Thomas, there is a sentence:

Do you ever watch old black-and-white war movies?

To my best english grammar knowledge, present perfect tense should be used here:

Have you ever watched black-and-white war movies?

Is the version of the authors correct? If so, what's the difference between these two variants and what is the appropriate way to use each?

PS. I checked this sentence in the translation of the book in my native language and it was translated exactly as if the orginal sentence was in present perfect form.


1 Answer 1


The first uses the present tense, and is thus a question about a general state of affairs. It asks if you ever watch them now or in the past or, by implication, are likely to do so in the future.

The second uses the present perfect construction, and asks only if there has been any occasion in the time up until now when you have watched them.

  • 1
    Active predicates (like watch) that are used in the present tense are generic and describe normal, customary, and expected behaviors. With stative predicates(like be tired) the present tense simply means present time. Sep 21, 2013 at 17:46

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