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?


2 Answers 2


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.

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