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What's the difference? When do you use each one?


Where did you put it?
Where have you put it?

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language



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    There are many instances where both could be used. There is no exact cutoff point.

    However, "Where did you put it?" would be used more in the less recent past. Anything older than a few days, certainly would require this form.

    "Where have you put it?" would be better said if the person hid it in the recent past, especially within the last two hours, though you could also use 'did' because technically, it is still the past.

    Present perfect: Where have you put it? - You ask this if the location is relevant to what you are doing right now.

    I need to use the dictionary. Where have you put it?

    How am I supposed to hang this picture without the hammer? Fred never puts it back where it belongs. Where has he put it this time, I wonder?

    Oh no! My keys aren't in my purse. Where have I put them?

    Past tense: Where did you put it? - You ask this if the location is not relevant to what you need to do now.

    A: When my mother visited last week, I didn't want her to know that I am still smoking, so I hid all the ashtrays. B: How funny. Where did you put them?

    A: Last summer my dad gave us his old sofa, but we didn't have room for it in our apartment. B: So, where did you put it?

    The differences between present perfect and past are a big subject - there are lots of specific uses for present perfect. It is often easiest to learn them one by one. You can google websites with explanations and exercises.

    One note - North Americans don't use the present perfect as much as other native English speakers. As a result, you will hear North American use 'did' where Brits or Irish use 'have done;.

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