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Why is the correct sentence "Did you eat breakfast?" (Not....."Did you ate breakfast?")

Breakfast is in the past, therefore, shouldn't you use a past tense verb?
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In English you can say "I eat breakfast every morning". When you ask it to somebody, you say "Do you eat breakfast every morning?". Here "do" is an auxiliary verb used for question and negation. When you talk about a past event of eating breakfast, you say "I ate breakfast this morning". When you ask it to somebody, you say "Did you eat breakfast this morning?". Here "did" is the past form for "do". So you can think: "did eat" = "ate".

paco
The verb in the sentence, "Did you eat breakfast?" is "did eat" and not only "eat". "did eat" ="ate"

e.g.

a) I DID EAT breakfast at home. = I ATE breakfast at home.

b) I DID GO to the movies last night. = I WENT to the movies last night.

c) I DID SEE the plane flying over. = I SAW the plane flying over.
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Just to expand a bit on temico's reply - it's the "did" portion of the verb that gets inverted with the subject to form a question, and also links with "not" to form a negation. So we say:

Did you eat breakfast? I didn't eat breakfast.
(NOT "ate you breakfast?" "I ate not breakfast.")

Certain verbs, like "to be" never take the "did" part (sorry, I don't actually know what it's called) so we say

Were you hungry? No, I wasn't hungry.
(NOT "did you be hungry? No, I didn't be hungry)

Someone else on the board can tell you which other verbs don't take "did", and why, and what they're called.
To khoff,

Which of the following expressions is correct in AmE, may I ask? Or are they both correct??

a) You ATE breakfast, right?
b) DID you EAT breakfast, right?
If you're going to form the question that way, A sounds fine, beause it means "You ate breakfast. Is that right?" B should be either "Did you eat breakfast?" (a simple question)or, if you want more emphasis, "You did eat breakfast, right?" (You did eat breakfast. Is that right?)

Hope that helps.
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it can also be said as "Did you breakfast'?
Hi,

Yes. But that sounds quite formal and is not commonly said.

Clive
Dear Khoff,
Can we replace the word "Eat/ate/eaten" with " take/took/taken"?

For Example;

I take breakfast.

I took breakfast.
I have taken breakfast.
(or)
I had breakfast
I have had breakfast

Regards,
Sri
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