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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 E. 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.

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
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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