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I watched a video about Singapore's Marina Bay yesterday. And the reporter said:

"This was a great design that had never been done.''

My question is: would it be incorrect if I add ''before'' at the end? Like this:

''This was a great design that had never been done before.''

Is there any difference?

3

I would say that in normal circumstances, people would interpret the following three sentences in the same way:

This was a great design that had never been done.
This was a great design that had never been done before.
This was a great design that had never been done until now.

With each sentence, the implication is that it is now done, or is at least in the process of being done.

The past tense in the first part of the sentence invites a comparison with a differing state in the present. Otherwise, you wouldn't express the idea with the past tense.

Instead, if you want to clearly express the fact that it is still not done, you would use the present tense:

This is a great design that has never been done.
This is a great design that has still never been done.
This is a great design that is still not done.

Here, the present tense affirms an existing condition (of it not being done).

If you want to express the idea that it might be done in the future, then simply add that to the present-tense sentences:

This is a great design that has never been done, but we hope to do it soon.
This is a great design that has still never been done, but we plan on doing it in the future.
This is a great design that is still not done, but we're working on it.

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+50

It depends on the context. If a teacher were critiquing a completed project, the change you suggest is valid.

"This was a great design that had never been done before."

On the other hand, if an architect has an idea for a new plan, and it's yet to be started, then the original wording might be used.

"This was a great design that had never been done."

Implicitly, it had never been done, and it might still not be done, perhaps due to impracticality.

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