He is perhaps the most prominent non-fiction author of our generation. It doesn’t hurt that several of his very good books have been turned into very good movies, including The Big Short and The Blind Side.

It didn't hurt that she has been strategic about marketing herself and the firm through the media.

I wonder what the difference in meaning between doesn't and didn't is in the above contexts.

  • @Bodrov: That's a false distinction. I did not go is correct, but so is I do not go. The difference is that the negated past version normally denies having gone on a single specific occasion, whereas the negated present tense version normally denies ever going (past, present, or future). Jan 8, 2023 at 14:27

2 Answers 2


There's simply no scope for any difference in meaning in the cited example. The subject is a prominent author, but achieving that current status obviously depended on things done in the past, so both time-frames are relevant. Present = simplest = best, though, IMHO.

But note that syntactically speaking, if doesn't is changed to Past Tense didn't then we should also change Present Perfect has been to Simple Past were (OR Past Perfect had been, but I personally wouldn't make that choice).


The difference is tense. "Does" is the present tense of the verb to do; "did" is preterit.

You would say something "didn't hurt" if you were speaking about a specific event in the past.

Example: I got the vaccination and it didn't hurt.

You would say something "doesn't hurt" if you want to say that this particular thing never hurts.

Example: You should get the vaccination, it doesn't hurt.

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