Is there any specific rationale behind ordering similar adverbs? Clearly, I point out time adverbs, never and ever. I've found examples in which these two used in different orders.

My mom will never, ever let us come to the mall again if you tell her! Look, we have ten dollars.

As in the above sentence, is it common to use comma between never and ever?

Asked by Vulture if he ever never needed to use his performance in the Tarantino film as a pickup line...

All in all, I think the best choice is to use them in the form of never ever. Am I right?

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    Never is a contraction of not ever; it's negative. Ever is a Negative Polarity Item and therefore can't be used outside the scope of a Negative Trigger. So a positive sentence with ever is ungrammatical: *I have ever been there. But I haven't ever been there = I've never been there. So this is not about adverbs, but about negation. See the list of NPIs and Triggers here. Commented May 29, 2015 at 16:37

1 Answer 1


You're quite right that normally the standard sequence never ever would be used (where ever is simply an optional intensifier for never). But for your second example, including ever actually alters the intended meaning.

1: Did you never [ever] need to use that pickup line?
In this version, never would normally be understood to mean much the same as ever anyway...
(Was there not even a single situation where you used/needed to use it?)

2: Did you ever never need to use that pickup line?
Here, the unusual sequence forces us to apply a different interpretation...
(Was there not even a single situation where you didn't [need to] use it?)

Another way of looking at it is that in #1 the scope of never is all occasions when the addressee was trying to chat someone up. In #2, the scope is a single "chatup" approach.

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