What is the difference between

a) I've done a lot of exercise in my life, but I've done more in the last few days than I've ever done before.

b) I've done a lot of exercise in my life, but I've done more in the last few days than I ever did before.

Thank you.


3 Answers 3


They're nearly interchangeable. The difference is the usual difference between the present perfect and the simple past: do you want to emphasize the action's continued relevance for the present or not?

However, the fact that the speech is somewhat removed from the action in that verb flattens this nuance out. It would make more difference in this pair:

This is more exercise than I've ever done before.

This is more exercise than I ever did before.

Here, the second one seems to imply that there was an earlier period during which the speaker exercised, but then they took a break and haven't exercised for a while. Now they're starting a new regime. In the first sentence, on the other hand, they've probably continued exercising right up to the present.

I would expect it to be the same difference in your pair of sentences, except that since this latest exercise is already in the past, the present perfect seems to lose the insistence that the speaker exercised continuously up to that point. At least, that's my intuition.


From the point of view of grammar, I think that neither a) nor b) are completely correct.

First of all. you are referring to an activity that has taken periods of time and you continue doing it, so perfect tenses are correct since you are not fixing the activity at a definite point in past time, but < than I have ever done before>, goes back in time, consequently, I would use < than I had ever done before>.

Sentence b), would be correct if you fixed the action at a point in past like < I did last year.>

  • Policewala, On second thought, original option b) would be correct, too,
    – lalynacar.
    Commented May 7, 2016 at 21:49

“I’ve ever done before” is the more correct of the two, but both versions are not very linguistically correct. How about: I’ve exercised a lot in my life, but I’ve exercised more in the past few days than ever before.

  • Welcome Adam to ELL! To improve this answer, can you add some details or references as to why you believe both versions are "not very linguistically correct"? This answer needs more detail to explain to the OP/reader why you believe this is so. Thanks and keep contributing! Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 10:36

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