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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Have you ever? Have you already?    

Have you ever? Have you already?


Have you ever? Have you already?
Hey there!
Can anyone tell me clearly what the difference is between:
"Have you already eaten snails? "and "Have you ever eaten snails?"
I m afraid my students might ask it to me and I would be like: "Well...er... Oh look a butterfly! Not that common in winter!"

15 Dec 2009      

Czech Republic

That butterfly trick is a keeper. Also try saying you need to go to the office to get something and you ll be right back.

On the face of it they mean the same thing, but it s about the context where you use them.
"Have you already eaten snails?" I´m interested in the time period we´re in right now and it is relevant to this time.
I would say this when I am expecting the person to eat snails in the future, say we are on holidays in France and in one of those fancy restaurants that serves them, it s likely we re going to eat them now and I want to know if you ve done it before.

"Have you ever eaten snails" The typical general life experience question, I would say to my Czech students who are not likely to have eaten snails or ever eat them.

This is a hard sentance to explain it in.
Think more of the difference between

"Have you already had a shower?" You should have a shower (maybe we re going to the opera), and I want to know if you ve done it yet in this time frame (Today).
"Have you ever had a shower?" Again life experience, in your whole life... This would be a pretty insulting question to ask someone!

I don´t know if I did a good job of explaining, if anyone can simplify it please do!

15 Dec 2009     


Sounds very clear to me! thanks

15 Dec 2009     


lol... Rabbitwho did a pretty good job of explaining but an easier way is this:

"ever" is used mainly to emphasize an idea, in this case "the eating of snails". And quite often it can be left out if we add "before".

i.e. "Have you eaten snails before?" means the same as "Have you ever eaten snails?" or "Have you ever eaten snails before?" (double emphasis lol )

"Already" is an adverb used to denote that something has already happened - usually.

"Have you already eaten snails?" - would mean that that person has eaten snails before now - probably like... he ate all the snails before the guests arrived at the party. lol OR somebody meant to surprise him and he tells them that he d already tried them.


In the kitchen before the party....

A: Philip! Have you already eaten all the snails? I was saving them for the party! ...

In the dining room...

A: Brenda, have you ever eaten snails?
B: Yes, Ann, I have...

15 Dec 2009     


When you ask if anyone has "ever" done sth, you want to know if they have experienced sth.  Loved the "shower" example!!! Thumbs Up

15 Dec 2009     


THANKS A LOT all of you, I think my students will love the shower example!!! I wish you a very merry Xmas!!!

20 Dec 2009     

United States

Just to clear up a small point...
You would never say, "Have you already eaten snails?" becuase "already" refers to a specific event, but "snails" (without an article) refers to a general item. Note that Zora s reply used "the snails", but didn t explain this difference.
So, "Have you already eaten the snails?" is asking about the specific snails (which we prepared for this party, for example), and "Have you ever eaten snails?" is asking about your life experience. You can t ask "Have you already eaten snails?" or "Have you ever eaten the snails?", because both are mixing a general situation with a specific situation.

30 Dec 2009