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This has always been a problem for me, so I'm hoping you guys can answer it once and for all. Often, I want to ask somebody if they've ever done something before. For example, in an email yesterday I was talking about a trip to Yorkshire and wanted to ask my friend

"have you ever eaten Yorkshire Pudding?"

(when he was living in the UK a few years ago.)

I can find a couple of ways to express this.

ヨークシャープディング食べたことある? / を食べた ことが ありますか?

ヨークシャープディングを食べましたか?

These both feel, more so the last one, like I am asking "recent" rather than "ever". I've always associated "Xを食べましたか?" with recent activity, I guess from my early lessons e.g. "昨日レストランに行きました" "そうですか?何を食べましたか"

Are these sufficient to ask "have you ever eaten Yorkshire Pudding?" ?

In English I would say "Have you ever eaten Yorkshire Pudding?" or "Have you eaten Yorkshire Pudding before?" rather than "Have you eaten Yorkshire Pudding?"

Perhaps my English is wrong lol

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What is your understanding of the difference between the two? Why do you think that asking them both makes it sound 'recent'? The former is correct at any rate, but without understanding your confusion, it's harder to give a good answer, so an edit may help out! Thanks in advance. –  jmac May 29 at 7:51
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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The format:

◯◯を食べた ことが ありますか

translates to:

Have you ever eaten ◯◯?"

You could also ask if they sometimes eat yorkshire pudding in a similar fashion:

◯◯を食べる ことが ありますか

This translates roughly to:

Do you eat ◯◯?


The second question you mentioned:

ヨークシャープディングを食べましたか?

Is asking in the context of some time frame in the past. It could be recent, or it could be in the past as well.

For example, if your friend is talking about a time they went to some restaurant in the past maybe you could ask if they ate yorkshire pudding at that time by using the above.

However, if you have no context to ask about, it would probably just apply to recent time, like that day or something.

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If you are referring to whether a person has ever done something, then the 「x ~たことがあります」form is what you need. Interpreted, it means "to have an instance wherein (subject) did (x)".

ヨークシャープディング食べたことある? / を食べた ことが ありますか?

These ask if the other person has had the experience of eating Yorkshire pudding. However, as you are probably aware, the first form is more casual than the "neutral polite" latter form.

ヨークシャープディングを食べましたか?

This one refers to whether the person asked has performed the action within the current context -- that is, for example, an English food buffet or a party where said dish is available. It translates to "Have you eaten (some of the) Yorkshire pudding?"

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ヨークシャープディング食べたことある? / を食べた ことが ありますか?

You can use them when you want to ask the experience. First one is friendly way, last one is formal way.

For example, Have you ever eaten Yorkshire Pudding?

Then

ヨークシャープディングを食べましたか?

This one is just asking the fact that if you had a pudding. For example, Did you eat Yorkshire Pudding in this mornig?

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