Is it mandatory that 'never again' is not separated in a sentence?

Do I have to write "I will never again do anything like that." or may I also put it "I will never do anything like that again."?

If you may separate the two words, is there a rule when to separate them?

  • 4
    It's true that never and again often occur consecutively in a sentence, but what makes you think there might be some rule of grammar saying this must always be the case? – FumbleFingers Apr 12 '12 at 23:55

Whether you write the words never again together or at a remove from each is a matter of style not grammar. In my view, writing them together gives the phrase slightly more emphasis, but others may have a different opinion.

There is one circumstance, however, when they most usually stay together, namely at the beginning of a clause, followed by an inversion of subject and verb:

  • Never again will I listen to what you say.
  • Never again will he speak to me like that.

Fronting the expression in this way gives it even greater emphasis.

  • 1
    Just to clarify: even though in the one circumstance "never again" usually appears together, it is still grammatically acceptable to space them apart—"Never will I listen again to what you say; never will he speak to me like that again." – zpletan Apr 13 '12 at 12:05

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