suppose I am coming out of a cinema hall just after watching a film. Someone asks me, "how was the movie? I reply "oh! That was a great movie. I have/had never seen a movie like this before." 'have' or 'had': Which one should I choose?  

I can also reply "oh! That was a great movie. It is/was the best movie I have/had ever seen."

Again the same problem, which one should I choose? 

1 Answer 1


To keep your tenses consistent, use had for the first case, as it implies that "not seeing a movie like this' is in the past.

For the second case, the first sentence refers to the movie when you watched it, not the movie in general. (Otherwise you would have used "That is a great movie"). Therefore since we are referring to the movie in one of its instances (when you watched it), the second sentence should begin with was. After that, have seems like the logical choice since this phrase I had ever seen is technically describing the movie, and is attributed to the word before it, hence not having its own tense.

However, this is dialogue, and the rules are loosened, particularly because people don't perform this type of analysis before speaking, therefore you are a bit more flexible in this situation.

I know I got a bit technical there; if you need clarification I'd be happy to help.

  • 1
    In my opinion, you are wrong - there should be have in both cases. You speak about yourself here and now. Aug 19, 2017 at 15:31
  • It would be correct if the whole situation was in the past: Yesterday when asked about the movie I replied that I had never seen such a good movie before. Aug 19, 2017 at 15:41
  • That is a valid perspective, but in direct speech, let's say someone had a date, and was asked immediately afterwards about the date itself. He/she would say: "It was the best" Aug 19, 2017 at 16:16
  • It doesn't matter was or is about the movie—it was then and is now good. Have is about you not the movie. And you are here and now, therefore being only able to have some attribute but not had it. Aug 19, 2017 at 16:23
  • the was or is, I perceived, referred to the speaker's experiencing of the movie, rather than the movie as a whole, as in, this particular screening. The have is certainly about you. Aug 19, 2017 at 16:27

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