LE HANH
Hi everybody I would like to ask about this situation: From I was born until now I had never seen a dog driving until one day, my friend took me to the circus, there was a performance of a dog driving a bicycle. What should I say at the moment I saw the dog driving. "Wow, I (never saw)/ (never have seen) a dog driving before. This is amazing." From what I learned from grammar books, the best way to use is present perfect ( never have seen) But I hear that simple past (never saw) can be used in America. Is it right?
Nov 3, 2021 3:41 PM
Answers · 20
Good question. So first of all, we speak of "riding" a bicycle, not "driving". We use "driving" mainly for cars or trucks. Things like that. We "ride" bicycles, scooters and motorcycles. But to your question. I would say, "Wow, I've never seen a dog riding a bicycle before! That's amazing!" You could say, "I never have seen..." but "I have never seen" or "I've never seen" is a much more common word order. Even in North American English, we wouldn't use the simple past for a sentence with "before" Examples: I've never eaten bananas before. I've eaten plenty of bananas before. Before now, I've never seen the inside of this building. (There is an exception if you are using "before" to establish a sequence of events in your story: "Before I came home, I ate dinner at my friends house.")
November 3, 2021
‘I never saw’ can be used in the US to mean ‘I’ve never seen’ but it’s slightly lower register. ‘I never saw’ has another meaning (talking about something in the past). In high school I never saw the point of learning foreign languages. (During high school) Living with my parents, I never saw a live concert. I went to my first concert in college. (During the time I lived with my parents) His attention span was so limited that he never saw the end of a movie.(during that time in the past that is understood from the context.) These sentences could be constructed without ‘never’ but it’s common to use it for emphasis.
November 3, 2021
This reminds me of a letter to a newspaper I read some time ago. The writer wrote that a neighbour had said to her “I saw you out [i.e. outside] with your dog driving”, to which she replied “you can’t have, my dog doesn’t drive !” A good illustration of the importance of word order : she should have said ‘I saw you out driving with your dog’.
November 3, 2021
Hello :) The correct grammatical form for this sentence is this: “Wow, I have never seen a dog driving before, …” Please note that “never” comes after “have”. Speaking of correct grammar, we don’t use simple past in such a situation, but in daily spoken language, there might be some sentences with minor errors that people use them anyway. If you’ve heard it in a movie or from a native speaker, that’s the reason.
November 3, 2021
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