+0
(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.
1 2 3
Comments  
HiTaka,

a) I haven't been to Australia.
(b) I have never been to Australia.
I looked at this for a while, and really didn't see any difference other than what you mention. I thought about it a bit more, and got the feeling that it probably depends on the context in which you would say this. We don't just speak sentences in isolation. For example:

A: Hi, I see you're back from your trip. You've been to Australia, haven't you?

B: Hi, nice to see you, too. I haven't been to Australia. I've been to Japan.

Here, it's just a simple contradiction or denial.

Best wishes, Clive



Yes, I'd agree; though you can use the first to say that you have been to Australia:

1. I haven't been to Australia since I was a boy.

( A resident of Tasmania might say this.)

Here's another context for #2:

2. "Well, I've booked the tickets. Hong Kong, Japan, and Australia." "Australia! How exciting! I've never been to Australia."

MrP
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Hmm...So there is no situation at all where (a) sounds weird and (b) is much better, and vice versa?
Hi Taka,

I don't understand your question, because I thought the examples we gave were ones in which one sounded better than the other.

Clive
Clive,

You just gave me an example of 'have not/haven't.' There is no comparison presented between 'have not' and 'have never', which is what I'm really interested in.

And about the example that MrP gave me, I don't know how I induce the essential difference between the two from that example.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Hello Taka

1. have not V

2. have never V

Usually, you could use #1 to state that you hadn't done X, but without excluding the possibility that you had done X in the past:

3. "No, I haven't made a pizza. I've made a quiche."

Cf.

4. "No, I've never made a pizza."

But 'going to Australia' doesn't allow us this possibility; so it's difficult to find a difference between them, except in terms of emphasis, as you say.

MrP
Hi,

OK.

Scenario one

Premise: I visited Australia 40 years ago, so I have been to Australia)

Now, in 2005

A: Hi, I see you're back from your trip. You've been to Australia this summer, haven't you?

B: Hi, nice to see you, too. I haven't been to Australia. I've been to Japan.

Scenario two

Premise: I never visited Australia at any time)

Now, in 2005

A: Hi, I see you're back from your trip. You've been to Australia this summer, haven't you?

B: Hi, nice to see you, too. No, I've been to Japan. I've never been to Australia. I'd love to go one day, if I get the chance.

Scenario one is just a flat denial. Scenario two, with never, adds more information, in this case about my life to date.

I could say other things, like I've never been to Japan at cherry-blossom time. 'Never' adds more meaning.

What do you think?

Clive
Hi again,

I've been cutting my hedge and thinking about this a bit more. Let's look at a simpler example (unless the verb 'be' is what you want to focus on, but I don't think it is).

You meet a friend in the street at 1pm. You say I haven't eaten lunch. Do you want to go to the XYZ restaurant?

Here, you wouldn't use 'never'.

Your friend replies I'm surprised. You've known me all these years and I thought you knew I only eat breakfast and dinner. I have never eaten lunch.

Here, he wouldn't say 'not'.

Clive
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Show more