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(a) I haven't been to Australia.
(b) I have never been to Australia.

What do you native speakers think is the difference between the two? Is (b) just an emphatic form of (a)? I think there might be more than that.
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Comments  (Page 2) 
So, is it that when you use 'have never', you are more conscious of a 'spectrum' of time?
I'm not a native speaker, but I think the difference is very subtle.

(a) I haven't been to Australia.
(b) I have never been to Australia.

The first sentence sounds incomplete and most people use (b) when they want to say that they've never visited Australia before. The first sentence (a) gives a slight meaning of time. (e.g. I haven't been to Australia since I was a kid.)

Do you see what I am trying to say?

In conclusion, if you want to say Australia is foreign to you, you would use (b).
If you want to say you have been to Australia before, but you haven't lately, use (a).
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Hi Taka,

Yes. (Short answer, but you're right).

Clive
Good. I think I understand it now. Thank you. By the way, Clive, MrP, do you think Mr Anonymous' comment as below is valid?

If you want to say you have been to Australia before, but you haven't lately, use (a).

I kind of doubt it.
Hello Taka

You would have to add an appropriate adverb or adverbial phrase to use (a) in that way:

1. I haven't been to Australia for a long time.

2. I haven't been to Australia for 20 years.

3. I haven't been to Australia recently.

etc.

MrP
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Hi,

I'd say 'yes'. As you said earlier, 'never' causes us to focus on a time period. But the context determines the time period, as earlier examples have shown.

To be a bit more philosophical, I'd say that everything we say is context-dependent. Would you disagree?

Clive
Then, could you please give me an example of 'S have never ...ed' which does not mean 'S haven't had the first experience of ...ing yet'?

I'd say that everything we say is context-dependent. Would you disagree?

I do agree.

In the previous post, I should have said that I think 'S have never ...ed' is less context-dependent than 'S have not ...ed.'
Hi,

Tom painted a picture in 1980. He has never painted one since.

(I'm not sure if this is what you mean.)

Clive
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1. I haven't been to Australia.

2. I've never been to Australia.

With this particular example, without further context, I'd say the two sentences meant the same thing.

MrP
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