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What’s the meaning of ‘ever’ in this sentence?

“Now, yer mum an’ dad were as good a witch an’ wizard as I ever knew.”

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closed as general reference by Andrew Leach, Roaring Fish, Carlo_R., Matt Эллен, Robusto Nov 8 '12 at 12:43

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.

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Dictionary Sense 1 ("at any time"). –  Andrew Leach Nov 8 '12 at 11:21
    
Hagrid! I miss those books. –  Ataraxia Nov 8 '12 at 13:34
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Ever is a suppletive allomorph for the nonexistent phrase *anywhen, just as both is a suppletive allomorph for the nonexistent phrase *all two. Like any, it is a Negative Polarity Item and may only appear within the scope of a Negative Trigger (like the equative construction as good ... as S here). –  John Lawler Nov 8 '12 at 15:14

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

"Ever" means "in my {life/experience}". Hagrid is saying that he's known a lot of witches and wizards, and that Harry Potter's mother and father were first-rate, top level, as good as the best witches and wizards that he has known. He might have said "Now, I've never known a better witch or wizard than yer mum an’ dad."

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