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Saw this sentence today. It has two variations, one ends with again and one without it. While the again does have a nice ring to it, I kind of feel that it makes no grammatical/semantic sense for it to appear in this sentence, but I don't know why. Does it have to do with whether the "ever...again" part is in a negative/interrogative situation vs. non-negative, which this sentence is?

Is there any grammatical justification for this again? What does it mean? Are there any other sentences that involve such a non-negative again? Hope I'm making myself clear enough :-)

On another note, I also see Today, you are the oldest..., which is admittedly "more" grammatical but less "catchy". In either form, the question about again remains.

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I think it is connected in the users' minds to you'll never be this young again, which is correct; but I also think your example is in fact distinct, and ungrammatical. –  TimLymington Sep 7 '12 at 22:04
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4 Answers

The "again" means at another time or once more as in, for example: I shall not look upon his like again — Shakespeare

Today is the oldest you've ever been and the youngest you'll ever be again. is a literary quote by Anonymous that has been around for a long time, and I think that that is proof that the again is necessary.

For example, you have not heard anyone quote, you'll never be younger or older that you are right now, which is shorter and possibly more clear.

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Why we should acccept an ungrammatical construction just because it is 'a literary quote by Anonymous'? –  TimLymington Sep 22 '12 at 13:21
    
@TimLymington +1 Why should we? –  Kris Sep 26 '12 at 12:47
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I agree with you, the again seems unnecessary.

Unless, I said this to you yesterday:

“Today is the oldest you've ever been, and the youngest you'll ever be.”

In that case, I may run into you this morning, and say:

“Today is the oldest you've ever been, and the youngest you'll ever be again.”

Tomorrow, I might word it like this:

“Today is again the oldest you've ever been, and the youngest you'll ever be.”

As for the day after that – well, I'm probably already pushing my luck at three days in a row.

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The day after that, you'll probably say to me, Again, today is the oldest you've ever been, and the youngest you'll ever be. Me to you: Don't ever again! –  langtechie Jun 17 '12 at 9:23
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This answer does not explain anything – it states an opinion, then gives a hypothetical example that misses the point. –  jwpat7 Jun 17 '12 at 14:56
    
@jwpat7: I may not have answered the entire question, but I think I did answer part of the question. The OP said: I kind of feel that it ["again"] makes no grammatical/semantic sense, but I don't know why. Is there any grammatical justification for this again? My answer to that (first line of my post): I agree; I think the *again* is extraneous. However, there is a caveat: it depends on the context (which is what the rest of my answer was meant to explain). P.S. I believe the last part of the question (about "Today you are" vs "Today is") was added after I posted my answer. –  J.R. Jun 17 '12 at 16:46
    
I appreciate J.R.'s answer, which confirms that without the special context of saying that sentence to someone a second time, again is unnecessary. –  langtechie Jun 17 '12 at 20:00
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“Today is the oldest you've ever been and the youngest you'll ever be again.”

This is a play on words.

"Today is the oldest you've ever been."

"Today is the youngest you'll ever be again.

Both statements are true. The second statement requires a little bit more thought. "You will never be as young as today, again".

The two statements together form a commentary on the ageing process. You are both older than you have ever been in the past, and younger than you are ever going to be in the future.

Both sentences are describing the fleeting nature of existence.

"Today is the youngest you'll ever be."

The word, 'again' emphasises the repetitive nature of life. Today, yesterday, and tomorrow, one follows the other. There is an element of repetition but there is also a sense in which each day is unique.

The moral is 'seize the day' (Carpe diem). You will never live this day, again!

"Today is the youngest you'll ever be - again!"

Again! Is added for emphasis, to emphasis that this day will never be repeated. You will never be as young as you are on this day. Tomorrow you will be older.

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Actually, I think that the again works quite well in it. It prevents anyone from saying “Hmm, I was younger yesterday. . . .”, which they could argue if it was simply “Today is the oldest you’ve ever been, and the youngest you’ll ever be.”

This way, you’re saying that it’s the youngest you will ever be again. Not the youngest you have ever been, but that you will never again be this young.

Sorry for the poor wording, kind of hard to get what I’m saying across.

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This answer can be improved by supporting your conclusions with verifiable facts, references, or specific expertise. –  MετάEd Sep 7 '12 at 22:14
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