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ESL Forums | English Vocabulary, Grammar and Idioms
Can I compare like these ways? | Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see?
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read #1 (permalink) Sat Apr 09, 2011 3:38 am   read
 

Imagine you ask me to read (or finish or finish reading?) two books in (or within)a certain period of time, let's say one week. When the time is up, you come and check if I am done with them or not.
1. "Did you finish them?"
2. "Did you finish reading them?"
3. "Have you finished them?"
4. "Have you finished reading them?"

Which ones are correct?

What should I say:

1. "I haven't read either of them."
2. "I haven't finished reading either of them."

Thanks.
S&S
I'm here quite often ;-)


Joined: 11 Jan 2011
Posts: 256

read #2 (permalink) Sat Apr 09, 2011 3:47 am   read
 

All those questions and responses are grammatically correct. Personally, in that context I would not use 'Did you finish...' I would reserve use of that tense for asking some time in the future 'Did you ever finish reading those books I told you about?' My understanding is that informally some people would use 'did you finish...' in the way that you suggest.

I haven't read either of them. - I haven't even started reading them.
I haven't finished reading either of them, - I have started them both, but not finished them.
I haven't finished reading them. - I have started at least one of them, I may have started both of them. I may or may not have finished reading one, but I definitely haven't finished the two.
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read #3 (permalink) Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:01 am   read
 

1.I have read that one.
2."I have finished reading that one."

Can 1 be used to mean 2?
S&S
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Posts: 256

read #4 (permalink) Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:57 am   read
 

Both those mean that you have finished with one of the books but not the other. (You might not have even started with the second book).
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read #5 (permalink) Sat Apr 09, 2011 5:17 am   read
 

According to a reference book (Practical English Usage by Michael Swan):

I have read the Bible.-----I know the Bible.

So I thought that "I have read..." could not be used on a particular occasion when you have just finished the reading.
S&S
I'm here quite often ;-)


Joined: 11 Jan 2011
Posts: 256

read #6 (permalink) Sat Apr 09, 2011 5:23 am   read
 

I have read your response above.
Now you know! ;P

(I suspect there's a little more to Swan's explanation.)
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read #7 (permalink) Sat Apr 09, 2011 5:27 am   read
 

So what I thought was (or is?) wrong, and it can be used in both cases, right?
S&S
I'm here quite often ;-)


Joined: 11 Jan 2011
Posts: 256

read #8 (permalink) Sat Apr 09, 2011 5:32 am   read
 

Yes.

'I have read X' doesn't necessarily mean 'I know/am aware of the contents of X' - it can be a simple statement of fact. 'I have read this book, but I haven't read that one.'
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Terry Pratchett
Beeesneees
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read #9 (permalink) Sat Apr 09, 2011 5:38 am   read
 

I am afraid you forgot to choose one between "is" and "was" for me. :P
S&S
I'm here quite often ;-)


Joined: 11 Jan 2011
Posts: 256

read #10 (permalink) Sat Apr 09, 2011 5:48 am   read
 

You can use either...
so what I thought was wrong (but now I know better)
so what I thought is wrong (even though I now know better, that thought is still wrong)
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read #11 (permalink) Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:01 am   read
 

Beeesneees wrote:
You can use either...
so what I thought was wrong (but now I know better)
so what I thought is wrong (even though I now know better, that thought is still wrong)

*S&S faints.* :P
S&S
I'm here quite often ;-)


Joined: 11 Jan 2011
Posts: 256

read #12 (permalink) Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:04 am   read
 

I wondered what the dull thud was.
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read #13 (permalink) Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:10 am   read
 

I got up and I MIGHT have got it(not I might get it,"might get it " means future, right?). Sorry for that noise. :P
S&S
I'm here quite often ;-)


Joined: 11 Jan 2011
Posts: 256

read #14 (permalink) Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:14 am   read
 

Yes, you're right.

Try to faint quietly next time! My neighbours will be complaining - they're trying to sleep.
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"Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened."
Terry Pratchett
Beeesneees
Language Coach


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Posts: 39144
Location: UK, born and bred

read #15 (permalink) Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:18 am   read
 

Ok, next time I'll take the(or my?)time and slow it down. :P
S&S
I'm here quite often ;-)


Joined: 11 Jan 2011
Posts: 256

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