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How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another?

What's the difference between the following?

  • Did the shop close?
  • Has the shop closed?

I suspect the second one to mean that the shop could still be opened but I'm not sure If I'm right.

  • 1
    Both questions mean that the shop might still be opened. Otherwise, it'd be a rhetorical question. Jun 11, 2012 at 15:27
  • 3
    @Peter Shor: I think you'd be more likely to say "Has it closed?" late one afternoon - at 5:30, say, when you're hoping it might not have closed for the day. The "Did it close?" version seems more appropriate when you're asking if maybe it might have ceased trading some time ago. Jun 11, 2012 at 15:37

1 Answer 1


With the Have P.P., the relevance of the state (whether or not the shop has indeed already closed) extends to the time of speaking.

This is why in the very usual event of us hoping to still be able to purchase something, I normally use the Have P.P. - "Has it closed?"

On the other hand, I'd use the Past Simple for things that are less recent or "don't affect me so much now." Perhaps if I were the owner of several shops, and some trusted people regularly just reported to me. Way past closing hour, I could ask my staff: "Did the shop close?"

I learned these from a British grammar book, but there's also a difference between American and British English here.

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