Q1. Which of this two phrase suits better to answer in this situation?

Mike and James are talking about the book. James read it before, Mike finished reading it yesterday. Mike has some questions about the plot, so he is asking James about; and one specific question, say - why character have decided not go for a help although he had a such chance - has no clear answer in the book. So, James, been little bugging about this plot hole can answer one of two:

  • Well, it has been never answered clearly...

  • Well, it was never answered clearly...

I do know, maybe it is only from my perspective, but both these verb constructions work good in this situation and I see a little to no differences between them. First, in my vision, is more retrospective view on the situation in the book, while second sounds more like a statement, but both these answers are acceptably, are they?

Q2. If we change a word order, would we make a more emphatic statement, like:

  • Well, it has never been answered clearly...

  • Well, it never has been answered clearly...

  • Well, it never was answered clearly...


1 Answer 1


It has been never answered....

is not idiomatic. You need to write either:

It has never been answered


It never has been answered

The difference between using (present perfect) has been and (simple past) was depends on the context.

In the context of the book, which is completed, the question was not answered. Unless there is a follow up to the book that raises the question again, it never will be answered. So you use the simple past. It was not answered.

If however you are talking about a situation in which something has not been resolved but still might be, you would use has been. So, if police are still searching for the location of the body of someone who was murdered years ago, you would say:

The body has never been found.

The same rules apply to your three examples. Any other distinctions would depend on the emphasis that a speaker laid on particular words.

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