I'm a bit lost here...

Consider this sentence:

"She ________________ (not always, be) interested in politics, but she is now."

Do I need to say "she hasn't always been" (always + present perfect)


Do I need to say " she wasn't always" (past simple, because the not being interested is over)

??????? or can I use both? I want to know what the rule is and what native speakers use. None of my clever books could fill me in on this... both sound okay to me, I teach the language but am not native, and I'm correcting student tests at the moment...

Please help, thank you.

The normal manner would be:
"She hasn't always been ..." = In the past (up till now), there have been times when she was uninterested in politics.

"She wasn't always ..."
would be used in a number of specific circumstances.
1. If "she" is no longer alive. = During her life, there were times ...
2. If "she" is no longer known to the speaker. = During the time I knew her, there were times ...
3. If "she" is no longer interested in politics. = Her interest and lack of interest were both in a past time completed before now (regardless of her state of interest now).

Having said all this, it wouldn't be unusual in everyday speech to hear either tense used to indicate her lack of interest at some unspecified time in the past. People don't always take great care to keep their tenses straight.


Thanks John for your reply, but now I am REALLY confused.

I'm the author this query and have since posted it again (I'm a new member, "hello"Emotion: smile)

I think that using the present perfect makes no real sense, because she is interested in politics now. Hence the non-interest is a thing of the past...

although I must admit that "hasn't always been" sounds a-ok when you first hear it... ?!?

google gets just a few hundred hits for "she hasn't always been" but several thousand for "she wasn't always"... similar with subject "he" ... hmmm...

I knwo that natives make tons of mistakes, and that as teachers the best we can do to teach theliving language as is, describing it not prescribing it, but if you want to give someone a rule, you need to appeal to their logic, otherwise how can a consensus be reached?

If language was not consensus based (to a large extent) then how could we understand each other at all?