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One of the most interesting things for me is to learn that some construction that seems completely ungrammatical to me is completely okay for speakers of some other dialect of English. For example, things like "I'm done my homework," "The car needs washed," and "Anymore those things are completely useless."

The last of these constructions, called "positive anymore," comes from a reinterpretation of the word "anymore" used in negative sentences like "I don't like nachos anymore" as meaning something like "nowadays."

Recently, I came across a similar example of what seems to me to be "positive ever":

hmm..actually, i have ever used a fan in an enclosed room for about maybe 1hr..and yes it got stuffy but no i did not die. But the stuffiness irritated me so i switched it on the aircon with the fan.

(comment from "Ask a Korean!: FAN DEATH IS REAL")

From the context, it seems like "ever" does not mean "always" here (as it can in archaic speech); instead, it seems to mean something like "once." It seems to me that this reinterpretation is understandable if we look at sentences like "Have you ever [done something]?" which could be rephrased as "Have you [done something] once or more than once?"

I'd like to know if this construction has been observed being used by any native speakers, since I'm not sure if the author above was a native speaker or an English language learner.

I tried to search for more examples on Google, and I came up with a fair amount, but many of them seem to be from non-native speakers. I found the most examples searching for the exact sequence of words "actually I have ever."

I can't find any mention of it on the Yale Grammatical Diversity project website where I got the three sentences in my first paragraph. I googled "positive ever," but it just turned up a post talking about the aforementioned archaic "always" meaning, and not the apparently newer "once" meaning.

I know that to many of you, this construction will sound as wrong as it does to me. So, I'm not interested in just hearing that. What I'd like to see is more evidence about it, such as examples or a description of it being used by some native speakers, or another source besides the BBC link above that states that it is not used by any native speakers.

  • Super-interesting question (+1). When I first encountered it here, the positive-anymore was baffling to me. Really interesting to learn about. For singular-ever, we sure it's not a misspelling or typo for even? – Dan Bron Mar 4 '16 at 0:01
  • @DanBron: it might be in some of the examples, but it doesn't seem possible in all of them. – sumelic Mar 4 '16 at 0:13
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Not really an answer but too long for a comment so typing here, apologies.

I use that structure even though I know it is wrong. However, I use it in specific situations with a meaning similar to;

Yes, I do study for my exams. I am not playing games all day!

I use positive ever to emphasize and with the meaning once or more. I use it in a sentences when I have done (or pretend to have done) something mischievous. Like;

Have you ever been to a love hotel? -averting eyes- Umm... Yeeeeees, I have ever been to a love hotel (with a stronger emphasis on ever).

This above is a real conversation I experienced recently in Japan. However, I know this is something my evil mind produced to play with others' minds. It has nothing to do with my dialect or whatever.

  • Thanks for describing how you use it! It seems like this usage usually starts in contexts like the example you gave (an answer to a question "have you ever...") and then it might become generalized to other uses. – sumelic Mar 5 '16 at 4:34

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