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    #1

    Tense aspects: have never done versus never did

    Hi,
    Could anyone please explain the difference between 'I have never done this before' and 'I never did before' in terms of tense aspect?

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Tense aspects: have never done versus never did

    Quote Originally Posted by sebayanpendam View Post
    Hi,
    Could anyone please explain the difference between 'I have never done this before' and 'I never did this before' in terms of tense aspect?
    I may be wrong and am happy to be corrected by my American colleagues here, but in BrE we use "I have never done this before" and I think "I never did this before" is more natural in AmE.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Tense aspects: have never done versus never did

    As I was doing it, I'd say "I've never done this before."
    Talking about it afterwards, I'd sy "I'd never done that before."

    I can't make "I never did this before" work.
    Last edited by Barb_D; 26-Feb-2012 at 16:14. Reason: Changed "this" to "that"
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Tense aspects: have never done versus never did

    There we go, I was duly corrected by an American colleague. Thanks!

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    #5

    Re: Tense aspects: have never done versus never did

    Would 'I have never done this before' imply that there is a possibility that I will do it in the future?
    What about if I write 'I had never done this before'? When should I use 'had never done'?
    Thanks

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Tense aspects: have never done versus never did

    Quote Originally Posted by sebayanpendam View Post
    Would 'I have never done this before' imply that there is a possibility that I will do it in the future?
    What about if I write 'I had never done this before'? When should I use 'had never done'?
    Thanks
    It does not imply that you might do it in the future. The only thing which would imply that would be if you actually said "I've never done this before but I might do it one day", or "I haven't done this yet" - the "yet" might suggest that it's a possibility in the future.

    "I had never done this before" = you would use this in the same way you would use any past perfect. The period of time being talked about in the sentence would dictate whether it was appropriate or not.

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