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  1. #1

    "never" and "have never"

    Please tell me

    Which is better to say...

    "I never wanted to be famous."

    or

    "I've never wanted to be famous"?


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    #2

    Re: "never" and "have never"

    Quote Originally Posted by pink dragon View Post
    Please tell me

    Which is better to say...

    "I never wanted to be famous." but I am now.

    or

    "I've never wanted to be famous" and haven't changed my mind. ?
    They are different in meaning - the first implies that you have become famous, but never intended to; the second implies you have no desire to become famous.

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: "never" and "have never"

    Quote Originally Posted by pink dragon View Post
    Please tell me
    Which is better to say...
    "I never wanted to be famous."
    or
    "I've never wanted to be famous"?
    Either. It depends whether or not you're famous when you say it:

    I never wanted to be famous, but somehow it just happened. I took a job as a chorus girl, and one thing led to another. Now I can't open a glossy magazine without seeing a picture of myself.

    I've never wanted to be famous. I prefer it this way - just being a cog in a well-oiled and reliable machine.


    b

    PS
    I tried to post this before Anglika's answer, but UE was having a bad hair day . We're saying the same thing, but you may find my examples helpful.

  3. #4

    Re: "never" and "have never"

    Thank you, Anglika and BobK!
    Now it's clear.

    Also, I learned a new word and expression "a cog" and "a bad hair day".
    It's interesting!


    • Join Date: Jan 2007
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    #5

    Re: "never" and "have never"

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I've never wanted to be famous. I prefer it this way - just being a cog in a well-oiled and reliable machine.
    b
    PS
    I tried to post this before Anglika's answer, but UE was having a bad hair day . We're saying the same thing, but you may find my examples helpful.
    Yes, we're learning extra things, but I'm not quite sure what the lines in bold mean.
    Would some experts shed more light on them? Thanks.


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
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    #6

    Re: "never" and "have never"

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Either. It depends whether or not you're famous when you say it:
    I never wanted to be famous, but somehow it just happened. I took a job as a chorus girl, and one thing led to another. Now I can't open a glossy magazine without seeing a picture of myself.
    I've never wanted to be famous. I prefer it this way - just being a cog in a well-oiled and reliable machine.

    b
    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    They are different in meaning - the first implies that you have become famous, but never intended to; the second implies you have no desire to become famous.
    We've got two BrE speakers who are pretty much in agreement, and you might well say, "Who are you, riverkid to dispute their take on BrE?". That's sure enough a fair question but I don't believe that the meanings have to be as distinct as is suggested, even for BrE.

    Anglika noted that the implication is there. If it's only an implication then surely both could have the identical meaning and the person in question could be not famous at all for either sentence.

    Would you agree, Anglika and Bob, that this is a possibility?


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    #7

    Re: "never" and "have never"

    The problem with many of these queries is lack of context. Being asked to say which of the statements above should be used, without any information of the background to the statement, means that they have to be examined as hypothetical. If context was always provided, then very specific answers could be given.

  4. BobK's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: "never" and "have never"

    Quote Originally Posted by piousoul View Post
    Yes, we're learning extra things, but I'm not quite sure what the lines in bold mean.
    Would some experts shed more light on them? Thanks.
    A cog is a little wheel with teeth on the outside, which fit together with another cog or cogs to make a machine. If you take one out, or damage it, the whole machine stops or malfunctions. A machine that's well-oiled is lubricated to keep it running smoothly. The words I used in my example were figurative; the speaker wanted to be a small but essential part of his/her work unit.

    A bad hair day is - in its literal sense - a day when you can't get your hair to look right. Figuratively, it's a day when things don't seem to work - by chance (not for any obvious reason). I was extending this figurative use even further by using it to apply to the forum software (which doesn't have hair at all). I just meant that the software was suddenly and unaccountably misbehaving.

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    We've got two BrE speakers who are pretty much in agreement, and you might well say, "Who are you, riverkid to dispute their take on BrE?". That's sure enough a fair question but I don't believe that the meanings have to be as distinct as is suggested, even for BrE.
    Anglika noted that the implication is there. If it's only an implication then surely both could have the identical meaning and the person in question could be not famous at all for either sentence.
    Would you agree, Anglika and Bob, that this is a possibility?
    I don't agree, RK. AmE seems to me much more tolerant in the use of the present perfect. (That tolerance, of course, is spreading - because of TV/films etc. But it hasn't reached mainstream BE yet.)

    b


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    #9

    Re: "never" and "have never"

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post

    I don't agree, RK. AmE seems to me much more tolerant in the use of the present perfect. (That tolerance, of course, is spreading - because of TV/films etc. But it hasn't reached mainstream BE yet.)

    b
    NaE isn't more tolerant, Bob, it's just that we have slightly different uses for the present perfect than BrE does. But I must admit that I'm still puzzled.

    I agree with you, Anglika, that context is everything. Time and again, the first meaning we see is not the nuance intended. Interesting that; are we programmed to seek first the most common meaning or is it that the most common naturally seems to win on the strength of numbers.

    Anglika says that "the first implies that you have become famous, but never intended to; the second implies you have no desire to become famous". That to me means that they cannot always differ in meaning; it must be context dependent.

    There's no doubt that the PP differs in some uses between BrE and NaE and there's also no doubt that BrE is being much influenced by AmE, more structurally, I surmise, than wrt to vocabulary.

    Cheers you two.

    RK


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    #10

    Re: "never" and "have never"

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    A cog is a little wheel with teeth on the outside, which fit together with another cog or cogs to make a machine. If you take one out, or damage it, the whole machine stops or malfunctions. A machine that's well-oiled is lubricated to keep it running smoothly. The words I used in my example were figurative; the speaker wanted to be a small but essential part of his/her work unit.

    A bad hair day is - in its literal sense - a day when you can't get your hair to look right. Figuratively, it's a day when things don't seem to work - by chance (not for any obvious reason). I was extending this figurative use even further by using it to apply to the forum software (which doesn't have hair at all). I just meant that the software was suddenly and unaccountably misbehaving.b
    Thank you, Bob, for the lucid, entertaining, and informative clarification. I really benenfit tons of advantages from your post. Thanks, again.

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