Suppose a scenario that I want to have dinner in a restaurant, when I come into the restaurant, a waitress asks me the question whether I have a reservation. The way of asking can be as follows:

1) Do you have a reservation?

2) Have you made a reservation?

3) Did you make a reservation?

4) Have you had a reservation?

I have learned 1) and 2) from textbook, and then I write 3) and 4) myself. I know that all of them are grammatically correct. But what I want to know is what the differences among these sentences are.

P.S. I am not a English native speaker, but a English learner.


1) A straight-forward question of whether there currently and presently is in existance a current reservation for the person.

2) A question of whether the person has made a reservation, and theoretically could include cancelled reservations. It is somewhat elliptical, however, implying making a reservation for today/now.

3) Same as sentence 2, except that it is in the simple past tense rather than present perfect. There is no difference in meaning.

4) This is a bit of a strange one. This asks whether the person has in the past held a reservation, using the past perfect. It doesn't sound like the waitress would be asking about a current reservation, rather, oddly, about a previous reservation in the past that probably was a no-show.

  • (1) is what you would be asked by a waitress or receptionist. (2) is more likely to be used by a wife asking a husband whether he's called the restaurant yet. (3) is possible at a restaurant, but unlikely, since it's about the past leading to the present. (4) is completely out, because it's completely about the past -- it asks about previous reservations, not the current one. – John Lawler Jul 14 '18 at 15:10
  • Ah! Of course; I completely forgot that use of the 2nd one. The 3rd one would for me then be when the couple arrive at the restaurant and the wife is worried that her husband has forgotten to make a reservation. 'Did you make a reservation?!' 'Yes darling, I did.' Or vice versa, depending on the competency of the man (usually!). – Deonyi Jul 15 '18 at 9:46
  • Deonyi @John Lawler Thanks for you guys. Let's focus the situation on the dialog between waitress and I instead of between a couple. Now, I know that 1) is the most appropriate and 4) is NOT appropriate or even wrong since it asks the reservation of the past and I know the reason now. – kevin4fly Jul 15 '18 at 11:03
  • As for 2) and 3), Say I called the restaurant for reservation 30 minutes ago before I came into it. Now I am standing at the counter, and the waitress asks me with 2) or 3). And I reply Yes, I have. or Yes, I did. accordingly. Are they right? – kevin4fly Jul 15 '18 at 11:09
  • Yes, but those are unlikely for the waitress. If you have made a reservation, then you have a reservation, and that's the important thing. Naturally you had to make it, but having it is the state that continues into the present time, and tense. – John Lawler Jul 15 '18 at 14:41

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