Senior Member

The word before is used, as far as I know, many times with the word never when talking about the past. And I was wondering if before could be omitted in those cases.


I've never seen him before.
Had you already been there before?

Before means "in the past", but these sentences talk already about the past. Could this be some kind of emphasis?

Thank you!
  • Giordano Bruno

    Senior Member
    English, England
    The word "before" indicates that the situation is no longer the same. If you are in the persons presence, you may say I've never seen him before". If you are looking at a photograph are reading about a person, you would leave off "before". In the second sentence, You clearly have been there once.


    Senior Member
    British English
    "Before" does not mean "in the past", it means "in the past relative to the present".

    I've never seen him (and I still haven't)
    I've never seen him before (but I have just, or am about to, see him)

    "I'm going to meet the Queen next week! I've never met her before." (The 'present' here is 'next week')

    "I went to Paris last year."
    "Had you already been there?"
    "No. I had never been there before." (The 'present' here is 'last year')
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