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http://www.learnersdictionary.com/qa/it-has-never-been-easier

I know the phrase of the title means that the thing is now easy. But,can this writing structure be used for other adjectives? For example

I have never been busier.=I'm now busy.

She has never been more beautiful.= She is now beautiful.

After the car crash, going to school has never been tougher.=it is now tough.

Is the above understanding right?

Next,when we want to use the sentences like this,is the structure "present tense+comparative" needed?

Finally, what is the difference between the following sentences?

A.It has never been easier.

B.It has been easier.

C.It is easier than before.

D.It is easy now.

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Typical uses: to have never been [comparative adjective]

I have never been busier. Meaning: never been busier [than now]

She has never been more beautiful. Meaning: never been more beautiful [than now]

After the car crash, going to school has never been tougher. Meaning: never been tougher [than now]

Please note: all your examples are correct. And they all contain an implicit comparative that I have shown in square brackets.

As for the sentences below, they all are slightly different depending on what you want to say or need to say in the present about the past or about the past:

A.It has never been easier. Meaning: This is the easiest time. [spoken in the present time for you]

B.It has been easier. Meaning: It has been easier [spoken in the present, implied "than now"].

C.It is easier than before. [regular comparative]

D.It is easy now. Meaning: It was not easy before. [Well, this one is obvious: present time versus past time, a time that is over or finished]

Bear in mind that here the present perfect merely tells us something began in the past and continues to be true at the time of speaking. It does not tell us anything about when in the past specifically anything happened.

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  • Thanks for your answer. And,if it was very easy,not just easy,can I say "it is easy now"? – Chang yo Sep 16 '18 at 12:03
  • @Changyo I already answered that. See D. – Lambie Sep 16 '18 at 14:36
  • Yeah…but, I don't know whether "very easy" is a kind of "not easy".xdd ah… I'm so sorry to ask such a question. I really don't know":( – Chang yo Sep 16 '18 at 16:49
  • @Changyo adverbs of time (now, then, etc. and emphasis (very,really)) and easy,very easy are separate issues from the verbs and verb tense. Very easy means not difficult. "very easy" means not difficult. – Lambie Sep 16 '18 at 17:34
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'It has never been easier' means more than 'It is now easy', it means 'It is easier now than it has ever been'. So, it is possible that it has been easy in the past, but it is now even easier than it was than.

You other three examples follow the same path, e.g.

I have been busy in the past, but I have never been as busy as I am now.

I always thought that she was beautiful, but she is now more beautiful than ever before.

Going to school had its tough times, but it is now tougher than at anytime in the past.

The general structure is have (past tense) + never + been + comparative. This is one formulaic way of making this kind of statement but, as the examples shown above demonstrate, there are usually other ways of saying the same thing.

If you put your last four sentences into increasing order of difficulty, you would have something like this:

A.It has never been easier. ....... Easiest

B.It is easy now. ........................ Easy, but not easiest

C.It is easier than before. .......... Less difficult/becoming easier

D.It has been easier. ................. Starting to become more difficult

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  • Thanks for your response. But,can you tell me why "D.It has been easier. " means "Starting to become more difficult"? Because I remember "have+Vpp" such as "I have eaten the lunch" can also mean "sth finish", does it make sense ? – Chang yo Sep 16 '18 at 11:49
  • 'It has been easier', says that at a time in the past a task was easier than it is today. If it was previously easier, it follows that it is now more difficult. If it is now much more difficult, you probably would not say, 'It has been easier', but, 'It used to be much easier'. As you said, 'It has been easier', I am assuming that it is now only a bit more difficult, not a lot more difficult. One way of saying this is, 'It is starting to become more difficult'. If a long time has past between the last time you did it and now, you might say, 'more difficult', and drop 'starting to become'. – James Sep 16 '18 at 12:39
  • Yes, 'I have eaten lunch' implies that I have finished eating lunch. It does not mean that I ate everything presented to me for lunch, it means that earlier I was eating lunch and now I am no longer eating lunch; I may, or may not, have eaten everything presented to me for lunch. 'Have + past participle' is a verb tense called the Perfect Tense. Is there a reason why you rae asking about it. – James Sep 16 '18 at 13:01
  • Thanks for your help again. I completely know what you said. And,now I don't have any question. Thanks, really. – Chang yo Sep 19 '18 at 11:40
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Your understanding does not hit the bulls-eye on the target but comes quite close.

She has never been more beautiful is taken as a compliment and its meaning is understood to be "She is (quite) beautiful now" but the precise meaning is "at no time in the past was she more beautiful than she is now".

It has never been easier is the same. It is understood to mean "It is (quite) easy now" but the precise meaning is "At no time in the past has it been easier".

I dwell on the difference between the meaning-in-context, the meaning that it is understood to have, versus the precise meaning, because someone could speak ironically about a difficult undertaking and say:

It has never been easier.

and mean thereby that it has always been difficult, both in the past and even now.

It has been easier literally means "In the past this undertaking has been easier than it is now"; it is understood to be understatement for "This undertaking is somewhat difficult now".

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  • So,you mean "It has never been easier" can have two different meanings depending on the context, right? – Chang yo Sep 16 '18 at 11:57
  • @Chang yo: You have never been more correct. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 16 '18 at 12:02
  • Ah……I hope you think I'm right and not leave me guess. 😂 well…but,it is funny.Haha – Chang yo Sep 16 '18 at 12:07

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