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He does not like planes.
She never eats meal. (English Syntax and Argumentation, Bas Aarts)

Aarts calls the negatives, not and never, as specifiers. ‘Ever’ in the example below seems to take the same position and role; can we call it as a specifier or not?

“Good evening, madam; I sent to you for a charitable purpose. I have forbidden Adèle to talk to me about her presents, and she is bursting with repletion; have the goodness to serve her as auditress and interlocutrice; it will be one of the most benevolent acts you ever performed.” (Jane Eyre)

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I appears that "specifier" is a functional denomination and therefore depends on the semantic significance of a word/ phrase in the clause/ sentence. –  Kris Mar 15 '13 at 7:32
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1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes, ever serves as a specifier (specifically, a qualifier) in that sentence.

As noted in a tcnj.edu syntax webpage, always, perhaps, often, never, and almost are some of the qualifiers in English. Toward the end of that webpage, another list of qualifiers appears, this time including not, sometimes, and ever. Some additional information from that webpage is given below.

Specifiers are shown as being of three kinds: Qualifiers, Determiners (like a, the, this, that, these, their, its, those, my, his, her, your and proper-noun possessives), and Degree Words (like too, so, very, more, most, quite).

Verb phrases (such as ever performed) are shown as consisting of a possible specifier that is a qualifier, followed by a verb, followed by a possible complement. A verb phrase can also have zero or more modifiers (adverbs and adverb phrases). That is, a verb phrase can have zero or one qualifiers and zero or more modifiers.

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Thank you. ELU and ELL are the very place for improving my understanding English. –  Listenever Mar 15 '13 at 7:50
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