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I wonder if I can use "ever" in place of "more and more". For example, do the following two sentences have the same meaning?

  • Software is getting more and more complex.
  • Software is getting ever complex.
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closed as general reference by jwpat7, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, FumbleFingers, John Lawler, Matt E. Эллен Apr 30 '12 at 15:57

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

While your premise is correct, the example seems a bit odd. Consider: 'Software is becoming ever so complex.' – Kris Apr 30 '12 at 15:03
+1. Good point. – Kris Apr 30 '12 at 15:05
Why is this getting close votes? The question seems clear. – Matt E. Эллен Apr 30 '12 at 15:27
@Matt: My closevote is because it's general reference that ever doesn't mean more and more. Personally I didn't read OP's erroneous second example as missing the word "so" - I saw it as missing the word "more". – FumbleFingers Apr 30 '12 at 15:50
Reference for the meanings of ever. The meaning of more and more is definition 10. – Matt E. Эллен Apr 30 '12 at 16:00

As Kris notes, you should say "getting ever so complex" rather than "ever complex".

But that said, why? "ever so" is a pretty archaic phrase. Frankly, if you use it, you'll sound like a 90-year-old lady.

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It's slightly literary but it's fine in formal writing.

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I don't get this. Are you seriously suggesting that "Software is getting ever complex" could ever be spoken/written by a competent native speaker? – FumbleFingers Apr 30 '12 at 15:52

I would suggest "Software is getting ever more complex" or "Software is getting more and more complex" as being more correct. Your latter example sounds awkward/wrong.

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Or even, "increasingly complex". – Brad Apr 30 '12 at 15:50

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