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Mark Moore
06-02-2012, 07:20 AM
In one of my stories, one character is asking another if she's seen a movie. Would it be "Ever seen" or "Ever see"? There's no "You" or "Have you". It's a very informal question.

SomethingOrOther
06-02-2012, 07:29 AM
They are elliptical forms of these usages:


Did you ever see Invasion of the Giant Infants?
Have you ever seen Invasion of the Giant Infants?

Technically, the second is more correct, and "Ever seen ..." likewise, but given the informality, and that it's dialogue, both are fine.

Mark Moore
06-02-2012, 07:32 AM
Thanks! :)

Allen R. Brady
06-02-2012, 07:33 AM
Either is fine. You can ask someone, "Have you ever seen Jaws?" or "Did you ever see Jaws?", and both sentences are correct. If you remove the auxiliary verb, you're left with "Ever seen Jaws?" or "Ever see Jaws?" Either one works.

Bufty
06-02-2012, 01:18 PM
In dialogue you can use whatever you feel the character would say whether it's grammatically correct or not.

ArtsyAmy
06-02-2012, 04:21 PM
I agree that either could be used correctly, and that it would be a good idea to consider your character when you're making your choice. Is your character someone who would use "seen" even in cases when doing so would be incorrect? Know what I mean? It's one of those things that irks this normally easygoing gal. For example, "I seen him get out of the car." Ack! If your character would do that, I'd go with "seen" in your sentence; if he wouldn't, then I'd say you're fine going with either "seen" or "see" in your sentence.

TheWordsmith
06-03-2012, 01:45 AM
Mark, as you might have noticed with previously posted examples, there is one deciding factor, which is missing from your quote.

"Did" or "Had/Have"
Inasmuch as you do not have a clarifying helping verb in this circumstance, it is pretty much up to you what the speaker intended.
Ordinarily, however, the structure would be "Did see" or "Have/Had seen".
And, also as previously noted, you must consider your character when choosing dialog. Some people, whether through lack of proper education or merely due to the regional curiosity where they live, would commonly use phrases such as "We seen it when we was going into town," which, grammatically, is terribly incorrect but, for this speaker would be considered the norm.

Mark Moore
06-03-2012, 02:15 AM
And, also as previously noted, you must consider your character when choosing dialog. Some people, whether through lack of proper education or merely due to the regional curiosity where they live, would commonly use phrases such as "We seen it when we was going into town," which, grammatically, is terribly incorrect but, for this speaker would be considered the norm.

Thanks. Yeah, I'd like to think of my character as being fairly well-educated (through her own determination), despite being raised in the semi-boonies.

Allen R. Brady
06-03-2012, 06:17 AM
I expect that my own personal inclination would be to use "ever see" when I actually want to know if someone had seen something in the past, and "ever seen" when I'm about to invite someone to see something that might be new to them.

Thus, I might ask "Ever see a tornado?" or "Ever see the Eiffel Tower?" if I were just interested in a yes or no answer.

But I might ask "Even seen a baby hippo?" when I'm about to show someone a video, or "Ever seen the Kentucky Shuffle?" if I'm going to do a card trick.

So the question of whether I say "Ever seen Jaws?" or "Ever see Jaws?" depends on whether I'm inviting the listener to watch it with me.

Jamesaritchie
06-03-2012, 11:48 PM
In one of my stories, one character is asking another if she's seen a movie. Would it be "Ever seen" or "Ever see"? There's no "You" or "Have you". It's a very informal question.

What does "You" or "Have you" have to do with formal or informal. The right way is always the way the average person, or that particular character, would ask something.

I'd say I hear "Have you seen" at least 98% of the time.

evilrooster
06-05-2012, 11:47 PM
What does "You" or "Have you" have to do with formal or informal.

Informal speech frequently skips words, particularly at the start of a sentence, if they can be inferred from context.

I might say "Ever seen the Northern Lights?" to a friend, but I'd say "Have you ever seen an instance of this kind of bug?" if I were interviewing someone for a job.


The right way is always the way the average person, or that particular character, would ask something....in that context. Yes. Agreed.

Susan Littlefield
06-06-2012, 11:47 PM
It took me a minute, but I see what you are asking.

Your character would say, "Ever seen Star Wars?" You could even say, "Seen Star Wars?"

It's how your character would say, not whether or not it's grammatically correct. People just don't speak properly all the time. :)

Susan Littlefield
06-06-2012, 11:48 PM
It took me a minute, but I see what you are asking.

Your character would say, "Ever seen Star Wars?" You could even say, "Seen Star Wars?"

It's how your character would say, not whether or not it's grammatically correct. People just don't speak properly all the time. :)