English tenses · Present perfect · tenses · Verb

What to Say when Someone Asks You a Question with Have You?

How to say I have and I haven’t.

Let’s say someone asks you this question:

Have you been in Paris?

Maybe you’ve been there. So you say: Yes, I have. I was there two years ago.

Or you haven’t been there. So you say: No, I haven’t.

If you say: I do, or I don’t, this is not a good answer.

Because the question was not whether you are there now or you always live there. The question used the Present Perfect tense to ask you whether you have ever been there in your life until now.

If you need more information about using present perfect, go here.

Now we’ll practise some questions about (pretty extreme) things you may or may not have done.

So you know what to say.

Note: When you answer I have, you need to say have in full. So don’t say the contraction of I’ve.

For the negative I haven’t, you can also say I’ve not. In that case we need to hear that you say the o in not.

Here is the first question:

Ride camel (1)

ferrari (1)

swim (1)

bungee (1)

safari (1)

Okay, that was fun. And now I know a lot more about you. You’re a daredevil willing to try anything, aren’t you? Nice.

Now we’ll talk about what to say next.

Specify your story with Past Simple.

If you want to tell someone about what you did at one specific point in time, you need to use Past Simple. Not Present Perfect. Because Present Perfect is used for things that are connected to now.

Like in the first example, when I asked you whether you had been in Paris.

And you said you were there two years ago. Were, not have been.

Another example of an answer you could give:

Have you ever been in Paris?

Yes, I have. As a matter of fact I used to live in France after I graduated from University.

As you see, I’ve used “used to live” which is in the Past Simple, because in this answer you’re talking about a specific time period in the past (without a connection to today.)

Or here is another answer:

Have you ever been in Paris?

No, I haven’t, but I went to a conference in Bordeaux in 2010.

So again, this refers to a specific year, so you need to use the Simple Past (went).

Longer Answers with Have and Have Not

You can also give more elaborate answers (= longer answers) with have and haven’t.

Here are some examples of that.

The question is have you ever been on safari?

You could say:

Yes, I’ve been three times and it was great.

Yes, I’ve been once but I didn’t see any lions. Hopefully next time.

Yes, I have and it was interesting.

Sure, I have and I saw the Big Five.

Are you kidding? Of course I have.

No, I’ve never been yet, but I hope to go to Africa on my honeymoon.

No, I’ve always avoided it because big animals scare me out of my wits.

No, I haven’t seen any animals in the wild. In fact, I prefer National Geographic.

Are you kidding? Do you think I’m rich?

No, I haven’t, but I’ve been to the zoo. Does that count?

And lots of other answers are possible that would be variations to these.

Try to think of your own answers to the questions in the pictures.

More Questions

Here are some more possible questions:

You can practise these with a friend.

Have you ever-

(Regular text:)

Have you ever?

Have you ever tried horse riding?

Have you ever played in a professional sports competition?

Have you ever been skiing?

Have you ever been in a place where it was colder than minus 20C?

Have you ever eaten alone at a restaurant?

Have you ever seen the same movie twice?

Have you read War and Peace?

Have you ever tried writing a poem in a language not your own?

Have you ever gone on a biking tour?

Have you ever found a scary animal in your home?

Have you ever eaten chocolate fondue?

Have you ever been asked out by someone you hated?

Now you can do a quiz.

Quiz (Hard)

Choose an appropriate answer to the questions. The wrong answers can be grammatically wrong or just nonsensical.

Do this quiz online here. 

We continue making fun of and with Superman. This time English with a Smile asked Superman a few questions about his past.

1 Superman, have you ever baked a cake without a recipe?

Sure, I have. I’m an experienced baker.

Sure, I have baked many cakes when I was young.

2 And have you ever tried baking a cake without eggs?

No, I haven’t. That can’t work, can it?

Yes, I have. Cakes without eggs are like Superman without his cape.

3 Is it true that you’ve made Batman a sandwich?

No, I haven’t. Batman has always made me one.

Well, I have once. I put in some pickles because I know he hates them.

4 Have you ever flown above the clouds?

Are you kidding me? I do that since I was a baby.

I have ever since I crashed into the Empire State Building.

5 Have you ever been scared?

Sure, I have. It was when a mouse was in my bag of flour.

I have, but I normally never scared.

6 Have you ever wanted to go back to your birthplace of Krypton?

I had wanted that when I was younger, but not anymore.

No way, I have not. That planet is too small for me now.

7 Have you ever been friendly with General Zod?

I still have. He’s my best friend.

I have actually. We both went to Supergirl’s birthday party and we had a chat.

8 Have you told many people about your admiration for Supergirl?

Of course I have. I tell everyone she’s a great girl.

Yes, I have. I’ve told Ken Clark.

9 Have you ever arm wrestled with Batman?

Yes, I have, but I’d love to beat him once and for all.

No, I haven’t yet and my script writer is not sure I would win.

Want to read and/or do more quizzes about Present Perfect?

Have a look here:

Use of I Haven’t

Overview of Present Simple and Past Simple

Walked or Have Walked, more about Past Simple versus Present Perfect

Present Perfect and Present Perfect Progressive

Present Perfect: How Does it Work?

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