Present perfect + before

English grammar and usage issues

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Present perfect + before

Unread postby orinoco » 18 Sep 2007, 09:27

Hi could someone help me with this sentence please

" He's never appeared in a film before "

Does this mean that the person in NOW staring in a film at the moment, that it is his very first film.

I need to teach the use of present perfect + before to a first certificate class and dont feel so confident about this sentence.

Thanks
orinoco
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Unread postby Glenski » 18 Sep 2007, 22:02

Sorry, but the answer is maybe. He has never appeared in a film. That just means up to now such an event took place (never appearing in a film). Whether it currently takes place or not is uncertain and depends on the context of the other material. Such a sentence with before implies that perhaps (there's that uncertainty again) such a thing is going to happen. The word before is extraneous.

Ask yourself this. A friend wants you to eat sushi. If you go to the restaurant, it would be your first time. You say, I have never eaten sushi before. Does this mean you are really going to do it? Not necessarily. You might need more convincing. Uncertainty.
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pres perf + 'before'

Unread postby flowerbeast » 21 Oct 2007, 02:22

The present perfect is usually used for one or more of these reasons:

Life Experience - "I've never been in a movie before."

Change in Situation - "Now I'm famous because I've been in a movie."

Up to Now - "I haven't been in a movie yet this year."

Lots more examples of these uses:
http://www.englicious.com/Grammar/ePresentPerfect.php

Your example is used for Life Experience, and it doesn't matter whether the person is in a movie now. It only discusses the person's entire history up to the present.
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