I never thought/ I've never thought

MouldK

New Member
Italian
#1
Hi everyone!
Which one between "I never thought that... and I've never thought that..." is the right form?
The adverb "never" shouldn't be use just with the present perfect tense?
So why I see a lot of people using it with the simple past tense?
Thanks.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    #2
    It depends on the context. I don't think there is any rule that says you can't use "never" with the simple past. I think you see (and probably hear) lots of people writing and saying that because they find it acceptable. So do I.
    I've never thought about that before.
    I never thought about it, but I just acted on instinct.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    #3
    Hi everyone!
    Which one between "I never thought that... and I've never thought that..." is the right form?
    The adverb "never" shouldn't be use just with the present perfect tense?
    So why I see a lot of people using it with the simple past tense?
    Thanks.
    They mean different things, Mould.

    There's a diffence in application between the simple past and the present perfect, and both can be used with never in the case of to think. It's a question of what you want to say.
     

    MouldK

    New Member
    Italian
    #4
    First of all, thanks for replying.

    It depends on the context. I don't think there is any rule that says you can't use "never" with the simple past. I think you see (and probably hear) lots of people writing and saying that because they find it acceptable. So do I.
    I've never thought about that before.
    I never thought about it, but I just acted on instinct.
    So saying:
    I never thought about that before
    and
    I've never thought about it, but I've just acted on instinct
    Would be the same?

    They mean different things, Mould.

    There's a diffence in application between the simple past and the present perfect, and both can be used with never in the case of to think. It's a question of what you want to say.
    Could you write an example? It would be very helpfull.
    Many thanks to both.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    #5
    Hello, Mould K. :) Let me take a look at your question: So saying:
    I never thought about that before
    and
    I've never thought about it, but I've just acted on instinct
    Would be the same?

    As Thomas noted, there often is (or should be) a difference between the two:
    From this perspective, it makes a difference to say "I never thought about it before" with the simple meaning "I never once in the past thought about it". This differs from saying "I never thought about it before" with the meaning "I have never thought about it before up to this moment". I think this difference is either blurred or nonexistent in the minds of those who say things like: Oh, really? That's interesting. I never thought about it before.

    To me, saying "I've never thought about it, but I've just acted on instinct" means "I have never thought about it. I have always acted on instinct. (And I still act that way)

    That is different than saying "I never thought about it, but I just acted on instinct". Here the remark simply refers to the past with no implications for the present. Remember, though, that people don't always make that distinction in remarks like these. Perhaps they should.
     
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