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General Writing and Grammar Help/I told you - I have told you

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Question
Dear Ted:

Are the following sentences grammatically correct and natural?

1) I HAVE TOLD you a thousand times that I don't want to be disturbed while I'm on my breaks.

2) I TOLD you a thousand times that I don't want to be disturbed while I'm on my breaks.

If both are possible, do they have the same meaning?

If so, which would you use?

If not, when should I use each of them?

Also, is it possible to say/write, "I have told you/told you a thousand times that I don't want to GET disturbed while I'm on my breaks" INSTEAD OF ""I have told you/told you a thousand times that I don't want to BE disturbed while I'm on my breaks"?

If both versions are possible, do they mean the same thing?

Many, many thanks for your valuable help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Are the following sentences grammatically correct and natural?

1) I HAVE TOLD you a thousand times that I don't want to be disturbed while I'm
on my breaks.

2) I TOLD you a thousand times that I don't want to be disturbed while I'm on my
breaks.

If both are possible, do they have the same meaning?

If so, which would you use?

If not, when should I use each of them?

*** Here's the difference between the two sentences:

#1 -- The present perfect verb, have told, indicates that the "telling" began sometime in the past and has continued right up to the present -- this very instant.  #2 uses the simple past tense, told.  We don't know WHEN the "telling" ended, but it was some time in the past.  It certainly does not indicate anything happening NOW, because you have used "told," which is PAST and PAST ONLY.  

I would use #1, because my interpretation is that someone has just disturbed you, and you are reminding that person -- NOW -- that you do not want to be disturbed and you told that person some time in the past.  In fact, you told that person "a thousand times" in the past.

Also, is it possible to say/write, "I have told you/told you a thousand times
that I don't want to GET disturbed while I'm on my breaks" INSTEAD OF ""I have
told you/told you a thousand times that I don't want to BE disturbed while I'm
on my breaks"?

If both versions are possible, do they mean the same thing?

*** NO.  Do not use the word "get."  "Get" means to "obtain something."  It would be very odd to GET a DISTURBANCE.  Stay with BE, the correct word.


Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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