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Have you seen/Did you see my shoes in here

Do I have to say Did you see because it happened in a specific place?

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Both of these are acceptable.

Reference to a specific place is irrelevant. I suspect you are thinking of the ‘rule’ in formal English governing time reference with the present perfect. This is often expressed in some such terms as this, from www.englishpage.com:

You CANNOT use the Present Perfect with specific time expressions such as: yesterday, one year ago, last week, when I was a child, when I lived in Japan, at that moment, that day, one day, etc. We CAN use the Present Perfect with unspecific expressions such as: ever, never, once, many times, several times, before, so far, already, yet, etc. [emphasis mine]

This is imprecise. The ‘rule’ actually observed in formal practice is that you cannot locate the present perfect within a timespan which does not include the present. This is only indirectly a matter of specificity: locating an event at a specific point or timespan in the past such as yesterday or when I was a child excludes the present. But equally ‘specific’ time references which include the present, such as today or this year are perfectly acceptable:

okI have answered three questions today.

This rule arises because the present perfect, although it mentions a past eventuality, expresses a current state or situation which in some sense derives from that past eventuality: its ‘tense’, the time it is talking about, is present.

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Saying "Have you seen my shoes in the closet?" has the same meaning as "Did you see my shoes in the closet?" The reference to a specific place is irrelevant.

However, saying Did you see is a more directed personal (accusatory) form of questioning than the alternative Have you seen.

  • You are right that in common speech these are often interchangeable, but one might, if one were being a smartass, answer the first one with,"Yes, I have, they are often in the closet. They're not there now of course, but I have seen them in there." – Jim Oct 25 '14 at 3:49
  • @Jim You are correct and thereby reinforcing my point that did you see is a more pointed form of questioning demanding a truthful answer. – Volubilis Oct 25 '14 at 6:19

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