0

If I say:

"I read the book." or "I watched the film."

Does it mean that I read the entire book or that I watched the entire film?

If it does, how should I say to emphasise that I started reading the book or watching the film but haven't finished the entire book or film yet? Will this help: "I was reading the book." "I was watching the film."?

If it doesn't, how should I say that I read the entire book or that I watched the entire film? Will this help: "I've read the book." "I've watched the film."?

Thank you for the opportunity to ask questions and get answers.

4
  • Thanks for contributing! If you're learning English, English Language Learners will be a better place for the kinds of questions that learners face. Dec 15, 2021 at 23:07
  • 1
    "I'm reading the book" will often be understood to mean "I am part way through reading it", even though you are not actually reading at this moment - because we don't usually read a whole book at one sitting. This doesn't apply so much to films, although with modern technology it is of course possible to watch part of a film and save the rest for later. Dec 16, 2021 at 9:07
  • 1
    It means you watched enough of the film or read enough of the book to make that claim. You know enough to make conversation on the subject.
    – Robusto
    Dec 16, 2021 at 14:59
  • According to your words, if somebody asks me "What did you do yesterday?" I can reply with "I read the books" even though I didn't finish them yesterday? Dec 24, 2021 at 22:19

1 Answer 1

1

Yes, the simple "I read the book" usually implies finishing it. There's enough ambiguity in the usage, though, to enable some intentional duplicity:

"I know you need to read To Kill A Mockingbird for English class. Did you read it today?"
"Yeah, I read the book."
"Great, what did you think of the ending?"
"Wellll.... I read the book, like, I read some of it, but I didn't finish it...

This would generally be seen as a misuse. However, you could add a qualifier like a time span that might shift the received meaning to non-completion:

I read the book for two hours today.
I might have been bored on the plane, but I read my book.

But no, shifting from simple past to past perfect does nothing to influence a sense of completion, for any task I can think of ("I fixed/have fixed the car," "I cooked/have cooked dinner"), though continuous tenses certainly can ("I'm reading the book").

0

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.