The two expressions from the title, “I wouldn't ever” and “I would never”, are very similar. But are they completely equivalent or do they bear any subtle differences? If so, how do they differ in meaning, usage, maybe emotional load? Or perhaps one of them feels "more natural" than the other?

  • Never = Not + Ever; This question is similar to this one which was asked a few hours ago. – coleopterist Oct 29 '12 at 19:30
  • @Coleopterist: I think the sentence " Accordingly, in conversation, when you mean impossible literally you may prefer to say not possible, so that you will not be understood to mean merely very unlikely." from a reply to the question you linked shows a real, significant difference between the two. Now is there anything like that here? – SF. Oct 29 '12 at 20:37

Both phrases are grammatically correct and carry the same emotional connotation.

The only slight variation between the two is the contraction used in the phrase "I wouldn't ever" which makes it a little less formal than "I would never".

When writing formally, it is considered unsophisticated to use contractions (i.e. wouldn't instead of would not). Therefore, the phrase "I would never" is favorable in that instance.

But if formality doesn't matter, then both are correct. It simply comes down to preference.


I wouldn't ever = I would not ever.
I would never = I would not ever.

They are, in fact, identical in meaning. To my ear -- I am a native speaker -- they are identical in meaning, connotation and mood.

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