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I have a question about Grammar that has been perplexing me for a while, and hopefully the good people out there who know better English than I do might be able to help me!

This actually came to me while I was reading a badly translated script, which is unimportant, but it made me think;

Why is it that we say, "What did he/she say?" or "What did I say?" even when it is past tense?

When something has been said, then shouldn't it be "What did I said" even though this sounds grammatically incorrect to me.

However, as I understand it, you would use the phrase "I said", "What was it he [had] said?" and the like.

As a follow-up question to those kind enough to answer, is there a difference between 'do' and 'have' that allows the different conjugation of the verb 'to say' in the different examples, or is this just simply a case of the strange way grammar works?

Any help is of course, greatly appreciated. Thanking the responders in advance.
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Why is it that we say, "What did he/she say?" or "What did I say?" even when it is past tense?
We use 'did' in making a past tense sentence interrogative or negative, using the base form of the verb.

As a follow-up question to those kind enough to answer, is there a difference between 'do' and 'have' that allows the different conjugation of the verb 'to say' in the different examples, or is this just simply a case of the strange way grammar works?
What did you say ~ What have you said.
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The auxiliary verb carries the tense. did shows the past. (Otherwise it would be do or does.) You can't indicate tense twice in the same clause. (*What did I said?) The main verb shows the past tense ONLY when no auxiliary verb is present to do the job! (I said so.)

CJ
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Thank you very much for the swift and consise reply.
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So, "what i said?" and "what did i say?" are both right, and both the same?
Only 'What did I say?' is right as a stand-alone question.