"Wie dronk de melk?"
Translation:Who drank the milk?
The tips at the beginning of this lesson state: The simple past is usually interchangeable with the present perfect; the difference in meaning is rather unclear and in many cases you can simply use both.
Common use is more or less like this:
If you are talking about a single event that happened in the past, it is often more natural to use the present perfect. Examples:
- Where did you go (yesterday)? = "Waar ben je (gisteren) geweest?"
- I had lunch at 2 o'clock. = "Ik heb om twee uur geluncht."
- I biked to work today. = "Ik ben vandaag naar mijn werk gefietst."
So if you would find an empty milk carton in the fridge, you might ask your house mates: "Wie heeft de melk gedronken?"
(Note the irregularity: some verbs need hebben to make it 'perfect', other verbs need zijn.)
Then, if you are talking, or asking, about a series of events in the past - telling a story, describing a situation - you would use the simple past:
- My sister called during breakfast. = "Mijn zus belde tijdens het ontbijt."
- I went to the bank after I saw him. = "Ik ging naar de bank nadat ik hem zag." (2x)
- Where were you at that moment? = "Waar was je op dat moment?"
- And then what happened? = "En wat gebeurde er toen?"
If you were describing the events that happened at breakfast, the person you were talking to could wonder: "Wie dronk de melk?"
So one could say, simple past is generally the narrative mode, for animated storytelling, while present perfect is more neutral, for stating 'dry' facts.
N.B. I would say the simple past in Dutch (just like the simple present) has some overlap with the use of past continuous in English: "Ik liep over de brug toen hij instortte." = I was walking on the bridge when it collapsed. So the example in the exercise above could also translate into "Who was drinking the milk?", depending on the context. However, Duolingo does not seem to accept this translation.
- What were you thinking? = "Wat dacht je?"
- Where were you going? = "Waar ging je naartoe?"
Your sentence means something different than the sentence above. Who did drink the milk puts emphasis on the "did", as in: "If you didn't drink the milk, then who did? It's kind of an odd sentence, and I'm not sure it can be directly translated to Dutch, but perhaps it'd look something like this? "Who did drink the milk?" "Wie dronk eigenlijk de melk?"