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I have a question related to the usage of 'never'. I have heard native speakers use 'never' when they want to negate something emphatically. And they use 'never' instead of "did not verb1" to negate.

Here are a couple of example sentences:

Me: Hey john, did you told Shyam that you dislike me? 
John: It's a lie. I never said/did not say that.

To me "did not say" is more grammatically correct but I often hear native speakers use 'never' in this kind of context. I would not use "present perfect tense" in the context as I was referring a specific event in the past.

  • never went/did not go to Australia when I was a child but after getting a job I went there last year.

I think both forms can be used in the above context.

  • never was a/was not a good student when I was in school but I was good at drawing.

I think the "never was" is more emphatic but both forms can be used. Can I use never instead of "did not verb1"  when I want to negate specific events in past emphatically? Native speakers, I want your opinions.

  • They're both grammatically correct; there isn't one that's "more grammatically correct" than the other. – stangdon Dec 20 '17 at 18:19
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Either one can be used in most cases, but sometimes one fits better to the situation than the other. To use your example, if you said I never went to Australia when I was a child but after getting a job I went there last year, this means that, quite simply, you have not been to the country. If you used instead I did not go, this may be interpreted with another context, for example, if you didn't go but were taken against your will, or maybe there was an opportunity to go that you didn't take, but now you did after getting a job.

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