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A. I never feel so alone until now.

B. I have never felt so alone until now.

C. I never felt so alone until now.

D. I had never felt so alone until now.

1. Which of the sentences above are possible?
2. If two or more are possible, how are they different in meaning or as to time?
3. If 'until' above means 'continuing up to now' instead of the action 'ceasing from now', which verb tense is correct? Simple present or present perfect?
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Hi,

A. I never feel so alone until now. Simple Present is not correct for 'the past until now'.

B. I have never felt so alone until now. Fine. Not in the entire period of the past.
C. I never felt so alone until now. Sometime s said, but B is much better. Simple Past focuses more on 'not on any specific occasion in the past'.
D. I had never felt so alone until now. Past Perfect does not work well here. It means 'not until I saw you two seconds (or two years) ago. In other words, it doesn't work with 'until now'.

1. Which of the sentences above are possible? As noted above.

2. If two or more are possible, how are they different in meaning or as to time? As noted above.

3. If 'until' above means 'continuing up to now' instead of the action 'ceasing from now', which verb tense is correct? Simple present or present perfect?

I don't understand your question.

'I have never felt so alone until now' means that I now feel more alone than I ever have before.

In other words, it suggests there is something in the present situation that makes me feel that way.

Clive
Hi Clive,

I can see now the difference. Thank you for your explanations.
Sorry for my confusing question, just disregard #3.

Could 'until now' mean 'so far' in the given sentences? If so, would it change the correct tense of the verb? Because I believe 'until now' in your explanation means 'until just now'.
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Hi again,

Could 'until now' mean 'so far' in the given sentences? Not really. I wouldn't interpret it that way.

If so, would it change the correct tense of the verb?

Because I believe 'until now' in your explanation means 'until just now'. Yes, although there's not really much difference.

Clive
CliveD. I had never felt so alone until now. Past Perfect does not work well here. It means 'not until I saw you two seconds (or two years) ago. In other words, it doesn't work with 'until now'.
Hi,
I know I'm always singing the same tired old song about context, but I have no problem with this. It would seem quite natural in a narrative style which is dealing with blocks of time.
Agreed, the past can be two seconds ago or two years ago.

Now that I've been released from prison, I've been able to turn my life around and build two legitimate businesses. I had never been able to hold my head up until now.

In my opinion, both the past and the present can be defined by context.

Best regards, - A.
Thank you, Avangi, I can see your point how the past and the present tense can be defined by the context.

Thank you, Clive, for answering my follow-up questions.

Instead of 'until now', let's change the phrase to 'until today'. I believe the present perfect is still the best choice of tense here because 'until today' could also mean 'two seconds ago', so past perfect doesn't work well here? However, if it says 'until earlier today', then only the past perfect is the correct tense?

I have never felt so alone until today. (Not in the entire period of the past)

I had never felt so alone until earlier today. (Not until I saw you this morning when at the time of speaking it is already evening)

Incidentally, if I've understood correctly the other threads in this forum, the simple past is good enough instead of the past perfect when the sequence of actions/events is clear in the sentence. The past perfect is just used for emphasis of when an action happened in reference to another past action/event. In my example, the 'not feeling so alone' happened before another past reference point which is 'until I saw you earlier today', therefore the simple past can be used. Would you agree?

I never felt so alone until earlier today. (simple past)

I had never felt so alone until earlier today. (past perfect -- emphatic)
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Hi,

Instead of 'until now', let's change the phrase to 'until today'. I believe the present perfect is still the best choice of tense here because 'until today' could also mean 'two seconds ago', so past perfect doesn't work well here? True. However, if it says 'until earlier today', then only the past perfect is the correct tense?

I have never felt so alone until today. (Not in the entire period of the past) Doesn't sound quite right to my ear.

I had never felt so alone until earlier today. (Not until I saw you this morning when at the time of speaking it is already evening) Sounds fine.

Incidentally, if I've understood correctly the other threads in this forum, the simple past is good enough instead of the past perfect when the sequence of actions/events is clear in the sentence. The past perfect is just used for emphasis of when an action happened in reference to another past action/event. Yes. It forcefuly shifts the reader's mind back to an earlier time. In my example, the 'not feeling so alone' happened before another past reference point which is 'until I saw you earlier today', therefore the simple past can be used. Would you agree?

I never felt so alone until earlier today. (simple past) Yes

I had never felt so alone until earlier today. (past perfect -- emphatic) Yes

Clive
Hi Clive,

Thanks again for your explanations.
CliveI believe the present perfect is still the best choice of tense here because 'until today' could also mean 'two seconds ago', so past perfect doesn't work well here? True.
CliveI have never felt so alone until today. (Not in the entire period of the past) Doesn't sound quite right to my ear.
You say 'True' which means that the present perfect 'have felt' is the best choice of tense with 'until today', but why do you also say that the example with the same tense 'have felt' doesn't sound quite right?
Hi,

When I said 'True', I was focusing more on ". . . so past perfect doesn't work well here?"

Clive
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