6

Example:

  • I never use this cup.
  • I never ever use this cup.

What is the difference between these two sentences?

  • Ever means at any time and it's a Negative Polarity Item, in the scope of the negative trigger Never. Roughly, that means that since Never at any time is grammatical, so is Never ever. – John Lawler Jul 6 '13 at 17:10
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    What John said...and since "never" has a very specific meaning, "never ever" only adds a degree of emphasis. – Kristina Lopez Jul 6 '13 at 17:18
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    I'm with Kristina and John. Saying "never ever" only adds emphasis. It's like saying "I really, really like it" instead of "I really like it". – Carl Smith Jul 7 '13 at 1:38
  • Two words one cup. – landocalrissian Oct 20 '15 at 18:19
  • 1
    Never ever is emphatic, but it is also not formal register. That is, it would not be used in formal writing or speech. It's colloquial register. – Lambie Jul 14 '16 at 13:38
5

The difference is, as Kristina Lopez pointed out, a matter of "degree of emphasis." If you really wanted to emphasize your utter unwillingness to use a particular cup, you could add a comma after the word never, so as to slow the reader down and make him or her pause for effect.

That technique would also work well with the spoken word, if you were to raise slightly the volume of your voice on the word ever:

I never, ever use this cup.

There can then be no doubt in the reader's or listener's mind that you are loath to use that cup! (I'd feel the same way if the cup was used, for example, to scoop up poopy kitty litter! Yuck!)

  • Good example of when to nev-ah, ev-ah...use that cup! :-) – Kristina Lopez Jul 7 '13 at 3:14
  • Perhaps there's a whiff of childishness with 'never ever'. Churchill, if I remember correctly, once addressed a school at speech day: 'Never...never... never ...never... never give up!' – Edwin Ashworth Jul 8 '13 at 19:54

protected by user140086 Jul 14 '16 at 13:57

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