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Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Grammar question
Please tell me what you think of this: which of the following sentences is correct?

"Where did you spend your holiday this year" or
"Where have you spent your holiday this year"

A good explanation for the choice will be highlly appreciated.
posted by Alina @ 6:29 PM  
13 Comments:
  • At 10/12/2005 7:14 PM, Blogger Raluca said…

    Hey, Kayla,
    as a personal choice, I would think the first version is correct, but I asked an American (PhD student) and she told me that both are ok, but that they imply different answers. The first one suggests that you spent the holiday in only one place (it's more limited), whereas the second is more open and lends itself to answers such as "I have been in France, Italy and Spain" -- several places, anyway. Hmm, does it make any sense?

     
  • At 10/12/2005 7:28 PM, Blogger Alina said…

    Thanks a lot, Raluca! If you can also help me with some grammar referrence that shows the first one is also correct, I will appreciate it. My English teacher states it has to be present perfect just because the time period (this year) hasn't finished...Which to me seems a bit irrelevant, as the period in which you could have a vacation is not the same thing with what year your vacation was in...

     
  • At 10/12/2005 7:29 PM, Blogger Charismatic Soul said…

    i think you can use both only if you change SPEND into SPENT in the first option.

    Btw- you've been tagged http://charismaticsoul.blogspot.com/2005/10/tagged-5-random-things-about-me.html

     
  • At 10/12/2005 7:48 PM, Blogger Alina said…

    CS, thanks for the tag!

    As for SPEND, it's that way, because you cannot heve "did spent"...you should just use the short infinitive and the past tense of the auxiliary.

     
  • At 10/12/2005 9:47 PM, Blogger Tarek said…

    I think they have to remove that present perfect thing from English - and other languages - as it adds unneeded complexity to them

     
  • At 10/12/2005 10:03 PM, Blogger Alina said…

    :)) Very funny, Tarek!

     
  • At 10/12/2005 11:06 PM, Blogger irina said…

    Kayla,

    The Brits would definitely choose the second sentence as the correct one for the simple reason that "this year" is not a finished period of time. In colloquial English the first sentence can be heard, but academic English definitely accepts only the first one...

     
  • At 10/12/2005 11:46 PM, Blogger Alina said…

    "In colloquial English the first sentence can be heard, but academic English definitely accepts only the first one..."

    Irina, is this what you meant? The first one? If it is so, can I have some grammar book backup on it? Thanks a lot for your help!

     
  • At 10/12/2005 11:58 PM, Blogger irina said…

    Oh, I am such an airhead... Sorry, Kayla, what I meant was that academic English accepts only the second one, Present Perfect, sorry for the confusion...

     
  • At 10/13/2005 12:29 AM, Blogger bart said…

    both sentences are ok i suspect, within the limits of different views of time experience...

    i'd accept what irina wrote, with the exception that i'd say that it were "holidays" instead of holiday because "holiday" more or less infers a very short period of time (one or two days at most) whilst "holidays" encompasses a longer timeframe...

     
  • At 10/13/2005 7:08 PM, Blogger Alina said…

    Ok guys, I have to be more clear about it. The phrase in Romanian was "Unde ti-ai petrecut vacanta anul asta". Bart, that means holiday meant something like vacation in this phrase. Maybe that helps.

    Thank you all for your help!

     
  • At 10/14/2005 3:09 AM, Blogger irina said…

    I would definitely put it "Where have you spent your holidays (or holiday-although they do say "summer holidays") this year"
    "This year" just doesn't go with past tense because it's not a finished period of time...
    For example I couldn't say "what did you do this morning or this week"...

     
  • At 10/14/2005 11:10 AM, Blogger Alina said…

    I know that, Irina...But the holiday period is over, that is the issue I do not get..Would you say "Where have you spent your Monday evening this week?" That is what I don't really understand. Shouldn't the time period be somehow connected to the period in which the action can still be performed? You can always include it in a larger indefinite period...

     
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