What is the difference between "has anyone run into the same problem?" and "does anyone run into the same problem?" in a situation like:

After midnight when I installed this new app on my system, the system stopped working. The screen went black. Does anyone run into the same problem? Or Has anyone run into the same problem?

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    I'd say "Has", but others may differ. I find this one confusing because "run" in the first version is present tense, whereas in the second one it's past participle. Which wouldn't arise if the question were "Does anyone have the problem?" as opposed to "Has anyone had the problem?" Nasty choice of verb, there! – FumbleFingers Feb 7 '12 at 0:44
  • But that's the way the verbs are, aren't they? – user17857 Feb 7 '12 at 0:50
  • More to the point, that's the way some verbs are, with some tenses. And as @Eduardo correctly points out, this creates a subtle distinction in the nature of the question you're actually asking. Doesn't change anything for me, because it would never occur to me to ask it in the present tense anyway. – FumbleFingers Feb 7 '12 at 4:06

Asking does anyone run into the same problem? is also grammatical, but has no sense in this context when applied after a simple past (... when I installed ...).

In other contexts it would just mean a different thing: you would be asking if anyone runs into the same problem on a regular basis, or is running into the same problem in the present, like if they are having the same problem as you right now.

However, with has anyone run into the same problem? you would be asking if someone has already (at least once, but in the past) run with the same problem, and would definitely make sense because it is compatible with the simple past used in the previous sentences.

  • Nicely explained. Just one niggle. In practice I think it would be slightly nonsensical to ask in the present tense. For your first interpretation - surely no-one would regularly install this new app if the system stopped working every time! And with your other interpretation (that someone else is currently having the problem), the phrasing sounds completely wrong. In that case the question would normally be phrased "Is anyone else running into the same problem?". So per my original comment, the first version is "grammatical", but apart from that it doesn't have much going for it! – FumbleFingers Feb 7 '12 at 4:15
  • I agree. The context pretty much turns the does version nonsensical. Specially after clearly saying ... when I installed .... I think I missed the past tense in the OP. I don't see how to give sense to the does version in this context after re-reading it. I think I should clarify a little bit. – Eduardo Feb 7 '12 at 5:10
  • Well, I still think you covered the grammatical side pretty well. For slightly different questions those different interpretations could indeed make sense, so it's good that they're laid out so clearly. It's just that when we consider this exact context, only the past tense seems like a sensible question to ask. – FumbleFingers Feb 7 '12 at 5:16

"Has anyone run into the same problem?" is more of a query question when we are looking for a solution. It might be followed up by, "If yes, then how was it resolved". It is like addressing to everyone individually.

However, "does anyone run into the same problem?" is more related to trend (survey). It wouldn't necessarily seek a resolution, but could be aimed at gathering statistics of the frequency of occurrence of the problem. It could be followed by "How often does it happen?"

I hope it helps.

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