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I have two questions:

Q1: Which one(s) of the sentences below, can be grammatically correct and why?

And if there are more than one correct sentence, does the meaning change when the verb tense is changed or are they synonymous and can be used interchangeably?

1- Yes, I was. I've never known until he had appeared on TV.

2- Yes, I was. I've never known until he appeared on TV.

3- Yes, I was. I've never known until he has appeared on TV.

4- Yes, I was. I've never known until he was appearing on TV.

Q2: What if the choices above are answers to this question below, are the answers to Q1 the same to Q2?

So in 2003, when you said you didn't know, were you telling the truth at that time?

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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

'I've never known' is correct :) 'I've never known' emphasises you, stressing that you as a person are ignorant of something.

I’ve never known how to do algebra so I can’t help you. (This stresses I don’t know.) I’ve never known exactly why my parents got divorced. (Again, this stresses I don’t but of course they do.) I’ve never known how to do origami. I’ve never understood why you moved to Mongolia.

And if you use the past simple with ‘never’, it means you are talking about a completed time period in the past.

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-1 And this is exactly the kind of answer that illustrates why total amateurs shouldn't be consulted about about technical topics: false information. The OP accepted an answer he or she wanted to hear: "Your English is correct". This is akin to diagnosis shopping in the medical world. "Doctor A told me that I had incurable liver cancer, so I went to Doctor B, who said that if I took enough apricot pit paste treatments & prayed to St. Elmo in my fiberglass dinghy every day, I'd be fine. Of course I believed Doctor B: I liked that diagnosis better!" –  user21497 Feb 12 '13 at 1:27
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All your sentences are ungrammatical. The only correct answer to the question is:

Yes, I was. I didn't know until he appeared on TV.

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Or I never knew until he appeared on TV. –  bib Feb 6 '13 at 15:16
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@BrightPolyglot I don't think so. Past perfect tense (using have and a past participle) is generally used to describe a previous ongoing state or activity, in contrast to past tense which does not imply extended state/activity on its own. The phrase I have never known suggests ongoing lack of knowledge, probably up to the present, and conflicts with an instance of enlightement, also in the past. –  bib Feb 6 '13 at 15:26
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@BrightPolyglot I can't speak to British usage, but I would agree that his tense choice is jarring (and seems incorrect) to this American ear. –  bib Feb 6 '13 at 15:33
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It's wrong in British English too: the sequence of tenses is wrong for the content. Yes, British English uses the present perfect more than American English, but not this way. An American speaker would probably say I didn't know until...; a British speaker might (I can't say for sure) say I hadn't known until.... That would be grammatical, but I don't know whether it's idiomatic. You'll have to wait for a Brit to weigh in here. –  user21497 Feb 6 '13 at 16:01
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"have never known until the" vs "never knew until the" I think it's quite clear that "have never known until the" is not a valid construct in English. Galloway probably made a mistake under pressure. –  Matt Эллен Feb 6 '13 at 16:02
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