Difference in meaning -the use of didn't and haven't


Is there a difference in meaning between the use of didn't and haven't in these sentences:


Didn't your parents teach you respect?

Haven't your parents taught you respect?

Difference meaning asked Mar 09 '14 at 04:33 Javdean New member

1 answer


The first sentence using 'didn't... teach' is the conversational question form of the simple past tense 'taught'. This change occurs when the statement: 'Your parents taught you respect' becomes a question. This first question merely asks if someone's parents taught him/her (or a group of children, the plural you) respect in the past. It usually means that the person asking the question without judgement and requiring information. The questioner may need a simple answer 'Yes' or 'No'. The parents referred to in this case may be dead or alive.


The second sentence uses the present perfect question form of the present perfect tense statement: ' Your parents have taught you respect'. Because the present perfect tense is used by the person asking the question, there is a hidden meaning or implication. The person's parents may still be alive and should have taught respect but might not yet have taught  respect. The hidden implication is that the person questioned has been disrepectful and when being reprimanded is asked to remember if he has been tauught respect or not. Depending on the situation, there is a implied insult given to both person being questioned as well as the parents: the person asking the question (the questioner) judges the living parents for not yet teaching this person(or the group) respect as well as the person being questioned for not showing respect. There is an expectation that the person/s being questioned should still be taught respect by his/her/their parents.  


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link comment answered Jan 24 at 15:47 Annette Fatti New member

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