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Please imagine you liked Super Mario when you were a kid and that you are going to play it for the first time in a decade or two.

Before playing it, you'd say

"Oh, I haven't played Super Mario since I was a kid."

wouldn't you?

Then, what about when you are playing?

1A) Oh, I haven't played Super Mario since I was a kid.

1B) Oh, I hadn't played Super Mario since I was a kid.

1C) Oh, I didn't play Super Mario since I was a kid.

How about when you have just finished playing it?

2A) Oh, I haven't played Super Mario since I was a kid.

2B) Oh, I hadn't played Super Mario since I was a kid.

3C) Oh, I didn't play Super Mario since I was a kid.

Thank you.

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  • I'd use 1A and 2B
    – gotube
    Commented Nov 13, 2021 at 16:05

1 Answer 1

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A is normal.

C is ungrmmatical in my British English dialect, whch doesn't allow a simple past with since. I believe this is not true of all varieties of English.

1B is possible but not in the circumstances you describe. When you use the so-called "past perfect" you are choosing to view the event(s) from some later time in the past; so if you are telling somebody about it tomorrow, then you might say "I hadn't played SM since I was a kid", implicitly setting the temporal focus to when you played it today (in the past when you are talking).

For the same reason, 2B is just about possible: for some reason you are choosing to set the temporal focus at the time (just past) when you were playing it. But 2A would be just as good.

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  • Thank you. How about "I didn't play Super Mario for a decade."? Is it grammatical and OK?
    – kuwabara
    Commented Nov 14, 2021 at 0:13
  • Yes, it's fine, but in my English it unambiguously refers to a decade that finished some time ago, not the decade up to now. I don't know if that is the case in all varieties of English though.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Nov 14, 2021 at 13:03
  • I would say I haven't played Super Mario since after I was a kid.
    – Stephen
    Commented Jan 10, 2022 at 2:30

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