Mary has never been to that library in the past, but now she regularly goes there.

"Now she regularly goes there" doesn't refer to the moment of speaking, but the extended sense of "present". It could be a week, a month, a year, or even a decade. In this kind of context, can the present perfect work? If it works, that would mean the present perfect doesn't necessarily continue to the present moment.

1 Answer 1


At some time in the recent past, Mary started going to the library. Your first clause describes the state before the first time that she went (ie before an event in the past), so you need to use past perfect.

Mary had never been to that library in the past, but now she goes there regularly.

You would only use present perfect if she had not been to the library before now.

  • Can this work: I've been terrified of the dark in the past, but I'm not any more. At some time in recent past, I began to be not terrified of the dark.
    – Stephen
    Jan 15, 2022 at 13:19
  • 1
    I used to be terrified or was terrified would be much more idiomatic, but you could use the present perfect with sometimes, occasionally and the like. (I don't know why, it just sounds right.) Jan 15, 2022 at 13:41
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    @KateBunting I think that present perfect works for intermittent things if there is a possibility of a recurrence in the future. For example, the sometimes-event last happened a month ago, but we are still in a state of sometimesness: it could happen again tomorrow. If the sometimes-event is definitely over, I think you should use past perfect.
    – JavaLatte
    Jan 16, 2022 at 2:31

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