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    #1

    I ever saw in my life

    Hallo!

    "Well, I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!" ("Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll).

    My question is - why is Past Indefinite and not Present Perfect used in the last sentence whereas "ever' is the marker of Present Perfect?

    Thank you for the explanation!

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    #2

    Re: I ever saw in my life

    Alice is quite a young girl. If she were older and more experienced in the use of English she would probably use the present perfect.

    (Don't capitalise the names of tenses.)

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    #3

    Re: I ever saw in my life

    NOT A TEACHER

    Hello, Elenichka:

    Although you have already received the answer, I just wanted to mention two points:

    1. Many times you will find that many native speakers do not always follow the rules if the meaning is clear.

    a. For example: "I did my homework before I ate dinner. So after finishing dessert, I had time to watch TV." (The rule calls for "had done.")

    2. I am pretty sure that the following dialog(ue) is pretty common here in the United States.

    Mona: Did you go to the movies last night?

    Joe: I sure(ly) did!

    Mona: What was the name of the movie?

    Joe: It was "How to Punctuate a Sentence."

    Mona: Did you like it?

    Joe: It was great! It was the best movie I ever saw. ("It is the best movie I have ever seen.")

    P.S. Joe's sentence would be correct if he knew that (for some reason), he would never again see another movie in his life.
    Last edited by TheParser; 26-Mar-2016 at 10:54.

  1. Piscean's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: I ever saw in my life

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    "I did my homework before I ate dinner. So after finishing dessert, I had time to watch TV." (The rule calls for "had done.")
    I know of no rule that calls for a past perfect there. We have one past action preceding another, that's all. The past simple is fine for both.

  2. engee30's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: I ever saw in my life

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    a. For example: "I did my homework before I ate dinner. So after finishing dessert, I had time to watch TV." (The rule calls for "had done.")

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    I know of no rule that calls for a past perfect there. We have one past action preceding another, that's all. The past simple is fine for both.
    It is an artificial rule often found in students' textbooks and workbooks.

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