Dear All,

What is the difference between the following two sentences ?

1) Not a day has gone by when I didn't think of him.

2) Not a day has gone by when I have not thought of him.

Thank you.
Ricky
Original Post
This kind of utterance has a few variations in tense and aspect, but there is little or no essential difference in the overall message. I've found examples on Google of several variations.

The subordinating adverb "when" is very rare, but I have found some examples on Google.

Not a day has gone by when I HAVEN'T.. = 285

Not a day has gone by when I DIDN'T = 11

Not a day has gone by when I DON'T = 11


The much more common subordinating adverb is "that."

Not a day has gone by that I DIDN'T = 23

Not a day has gone by that I HAVEN'T = 446

Not a day has gone by that I DON'T = 107

The present tense of both "go" and of the verb in the dependent clause is by far the most common:

Not a day GOES by that I DON'T = 7,280

If there's any difference at all, the form with the simple past, "Not a day has gone by that I DIDN'T..." leaves the speaker a bit freer to declare an end to the action that has been performed without fail every day up to the day of the utterance.

Marilyn Martin

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