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hi,

Is it possible to use "needn't have done something" when I knew I wasn't necessary but I did it anyway

e.g.

I needn't have done it but I wanted to (I knew it wasn't necessary but, for instance, I wanted to show off)

is it possible to use "didn't need to do something" when I didn't know about something ?

e.g

I didn't need to save his life but to tell you the truth I didn't know it wasn't necessary

thx
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"I didn't need to" is just fine (for American usage).

Also, "I didn't have to" has the same meaning.

I didn't need to go to the library because none of my books was due, but I wanted to see if one I've been waiting for has come in.

(And, of course, any parent who has to stop by the side of the road and asks "Why didn't you go before we left home?!" will hear "But I didn't need to go then!")
Hi,

Is it possible to use "needn't have done something" when I knew It wasn't necessary but I did it anyway

e.g. I needn't have done it but I wanted to (I knew it wasn't necessary but, for instance, I wanted to show off) Yes

is it possible to use "didn't need to do something" when I didn't know about something ? You're asking if you need to do something even if you don't know about it? That's a philosophical question, rather than a language question. I'd say maybe yes, maybe no. It depends on the overall context, on the situation.

e.g I didn't need to save his life but to tell you the truth I didn't know it wasn't necessary The two negatives here make this sound rather odd and even absurd. I think what you mean is I needed to save his life but to tell you the truth I didn't know it wasn't necessary. As I said, I think it depends on the overall context.

Best wishes, Clive
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I know there is a difference between Amercian English and British English as fas as those items are concerned but let's focus on British English only.

Coming back to "didn't need to do something", does it always mean that if I use that item it means that I'm always aware that something was not necessary ?

I didn't need to save his life but to tell you the truth I didn't know it wasn't necessary

In that sentence I meant that saving his life wan't necessary and I didn't save his life becasue I knew about it but because it was just a coincidence that I didn't even tried to rescue him

thx in advance
Anonymous
In that sentence I meant that saving his life wan't necessary and I didn't save his life becasue I knew about it but because it was just a coincidence that I didn't even tried to rescue him

Huh? I don't understand what you're saying.
Hi,

Yes, you seem to be 'tying yourself up in knots'.

Best wishes, Clive
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So... I didn't need to save his life means:

1) I knew it wasn't necessary so I didn't even try

2) I didn't know it wasn't necessary (because nobody told me that) that's why I didn't even try

is it clear now ?
Hi again,

So... I didn't need to save his life means:

1) I knew it wasn't necessary so I didn't even try No. It means 'It wasn't necessary'. It doesn't necessarily mean I knew that at the time. Perhaps I knew, perhaps I didn't. It also doesn't say whether I tried or whether I didn't try.

2) I didn't know it wasn't necessary (because nobody told me that) that's why I didn't even try

is it clear now ? No, #2 is still unclear. If I didn't know it wasn't necessary, surely that would be a reason for me to try?

Best wishes, Clive
Maybe if you used another example. It's hard to imagine a situation in which one wouldn't try to save someone's life if you knew about it.

How about something like not needing to meet someone at the airport... you might have a better chance of coming up with examples for that.

I didn't need to meet Jim at the airport becuase his friend met him instead.

I didn't need to meet Jim at the airport because he ended up missing his plane from Toronto.
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