My sister never read / had never read book until she was five.

Can I use both of them?


My sister never read a book until she was five.
My sister had never read a book until she was five.

Both of these sentences are grammatically correct and the meaning is the same. I would use the second version had never read if I wanted to emphasize that the situation changed a lot when she became five, for example:

My sister had never read a book until she was five, but since then I have never seen her without one.

Note that you need an a before book.

  • Yes. With "had never read", the writer is explicitly locating the narrative focus to a time in the past but after she was five: JavaLatte's suggestion is one interpretation of that. With "never read", the narrative focus is not set, and is probably the present. As usual, the difference between the perfect and the past is not one of grammaticality, nor expressing an objective difference, but expresses a difference in how the speaker is relating events in time. – Colin Fine Jul 24 '16 at 17:03

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