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Could you tell me if I have to use the past simple or the present perfect after I've been meaning in the context below?

I've been meaning to watch the movie, but I always forgot to till now.

I've been meaning to watch the movie, but I've always forgotten to till now.

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    Syntactically, both are fine. But idiomatically, many native speakers would abandon the Perfect verb form after the first use, since repeated instances can start to get cumbersome. And this native speaker probably wouldn't even start: I always meant to watch it, but I forgot about it until now. Semantically, I think there's a bit of a problem with Present Perfect for the intention to watch anyway - it strongly implies still intending to watch, right up until time of speaking, which doesn't really make sense if you've forgotten about [the movie? the intention?] anyway. Commented May 12, 2021 at 15:29
  • Duplicate of this? ell.stackexchange.com/questions/139428/… Or, at any rate, that might be some use.
    – A. B.
    Commented May 19, 2021 at 4:28
  • Always the same question in a new form, over and over and over. I meant to, I was meaning to, I've been meaning to, I had meant to, I mean to, etc.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 14:26

1 Answer 1

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The following were your examples:

1A. I've been meaning to watch the movie, but I always forgot to 'till now.
1B. I've been meaning to watch the movie, but I've always forgotten to 'till now.

The original passages of text are grammatically correct if and only if they are still grammatically correct after you:

  • insert "watch the movie" after the word "to"
  • delete I've been meaning to watch the movie
  • replace ", but" with a period (a full-stop or dot)

2A. I always forgot to watch the move 'till now.
2B. I have always forgotten to watch the movie 'till now.

Both are grammatically correct.

However, native English speakers would never say, or write, either of those sentences.

For one thing, till is used only when quoting old sayings and old proverbs.

When you are using your own words, not quoting an old book, then you use the word "until."

All of the following are idiomatic in contemporary English:

  • I've been meaning to watch the movie, but I kept forgetting about it until now.
  • I've been meaning to watch the movie, but I kept forgetting to watch it until now.
  • I've been meaning to watch the movie, but I forgot about it
  • I've been meaning to watch the movie, but I forgot to watch it

People only say till when they are pretending to be old-fashioned, as some kind of joke.

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    There's nothing at all 'old-fashioned' about till. Commented Nov 18, 2023 at 13:04

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