I come across this in todays New Yorker:

Birkenstocks, like an iPad, or an eight-dollar bottle of cold-pressed juice, are the covetable answer to a need that hadn’t existed before they came along.

Isn't this just a past tense and shouldn't be written as: Didn't existed ? Would that be wrong?


There isn't such a thing as "Didn't existed". Past tense would be: "Didn't exist".

Example: It didn't exist yesterday.

If something was done in the past before another event happened, then the correct form would be: "Hadn't existed"

Example: It hadn't existed before they came along. But then they came along and put it into existence.



The negative past tense it's made with didn't + base form, where the base form is the infinitive without to. The past perfect is used when an action or event happened before than other action in the past.

I was hungry because I hadn't eaten anything.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.