I never thought/ I've never thought

Discussion in 'English Only' started by MouldK, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. MouldK New Member

    Italian
    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.
     
  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    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.
     
  3. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    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.
     
  4. MouldK New Member

    Italian
    First of all, thanks for replying.

    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?

    Could you write an example? It would be very helpfull.
    Many thanks to both.
     
  5. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    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.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2010
  6. MouldK New Member

    Italian
    Uh Well, I think I've understood the difference!
    Many Thanks :D
     
  7. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    I knew it would be helpful, Mould, but I didn't think it necessary. Look at this thread from this morning, which gives a lot of helpful information and examples, particularly in its embedded links. It also tells you how to find examples by the score, when you have a question like this.
     

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