A. This was the first place I ever worked.

B. This was the first place I have ever worked.

Do you feel any difference in meaning between these?

Thanks in advance


As a native US English speaker, I sense no difference in meaning between the two sentences if you were to speak them. However, if you were writing, you should probably have used the second sentence to be grammatically correct.


This two sentences don't really have any differences in the meanings of them, and they would both be understood by a native English speaker. They differ in the usage of either past simple (the first) or past perfect (the second). Past perfect is important when multiple events are discussed and there is an order in which they occurred (which is not the case here, since only one thing is being said, and therefore, both are acceptable). See Simple Past and Past Perfect for more details.


These are deceptively simple. (now what did he mean by that-- they're simple but they don't seem to be? Or they seem simple but they aren't?)

What's deceptive about this particular example? Well, we know that if it ever was the first place he worked, then it still is the first place he worked, and will always be the first place he worked. So we tend to overlook faux pas in verb tense because of that certainty.

  • A) This was the first place I ever worked.

By using "this was", you set the time frame, and the narration, in the past. So it should be "the first place I hadever worked** ".

But we can't be sure the narration is in the past. Assuming it's in the present, it makes more sense to say "that was". But either way it calls for had worked. And in any case, it seems he is no longer working there now. Whether he is working now (or indeed whether he has ever held any other job since the first one) is indetermininable.

The use of "ever" is apparently for emphasis. It suggests that the speaker might have been trying for some time to get a job before he landed this(that) job.

("Ever" would seem almost required if you were to say "the only place I [ever] worked".)

  • (B) This was the first place I have ever worked,

This has conflicting tenses. "this was" (past) does not go with "have ever worked" (present perfect.) It should say "This is the first place I have ever worked." (it's your first job, and you are still working at it)

Or... See (A).

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