I never took your pen.

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Karen123456

Senior Member
Malaysia English
Did you take my pen?

Where I live, most people will reply "I never took your pen."

Do native speakers reply as above?

Thanks.
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I don't, although after repeated accusations, I might, in exasperation, say "Look! Do you understand? I never took your pen!"

    Usually, I would reply "No." or "No, I didn't."
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, many native speakers use never as an emphatic alternative to not.

    I think you should use this form with caution, though. I suspect it may be one of those shibboleths where a self-selecting group of people have decided not to use this form, and to look down their noses at those who do, and to justify their snobbery with the excuse of "grammar".
     
    Last edited:

    PlanC

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    Hi,
    "I never took your pen." sounds sophisticated, the usage of the adverb never besides the past simple tense makes a phase-shifting , never implies a decision that lasts (durable), meanwhile took:is a brief action occurred in past.
    "I would never take your pen." / to argue
    No, I didn't! [took it /your pen] < facultative
     
    Last edited:

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "I never took your pen" doesn't sound at all "sophisticated" to me, PlanC. :)

    I used to hear it a lot when I was at school (You took my pen! - No I never! Hey, you took my ruler! - No I never took your ruler!")- it's considered less than standard English, a widely-used colloquialism. Mostly used for emphasis.

    I belong to the group of people teddy mentions, the ones who look down their noses.:D
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Based on what I hear from BrE speakers, I think "I never took your pen" is likelier as a retort to "You took my pen!" than as a retort to "Did you take my pen?"* Personally, I wouldn't use it in either situation.

    * Post-cross-posting edit: I see my experience is the same as velisarius's.
     

    PlanC

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    Based on what I hear from BrE speakers, I think "I never took your pen" is likelier as a retort to "You took my pen!" than as a retort to "Did you take my pen?"* Personally, I wouldn't use it in either situation.

    * Post-cross-posting edit: I see my experience is the same as velisarius's.
    It makes lot of sens now :) thanks to you & velisarius as well!
     
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