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What’s the meaning of ‘ever’ in this sentence?

“Now, yer mum an’ dad were as good a witch an’ wizard as I ever knew.”

closed as general reference by Andrew Leach, Roaring Fish, user19148, Matt E. Эллен, Robusto Nov 8 '12 at 12:43

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    Dictionary Sense 1 ("at any time"). – Andrew Leach Nov 8 '12 at 11:21
  • Hagrid! I miss those books. – Ataraxia Nov 8 '12 at 13:34
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    Ever is a suppletive allomorph for the nonexistent phrase *anywhen, just as both is a suppletive allomorph for the nonexistent phrase *all two. Like any, it is a Negative Polarity Item and may only appear within the scope of a Negative Trigger (like the equative construction as good ... as S here). – John Lawler Nov 8 '12 at 15:14
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"Ever" means "in my {life/experience}". Hagrid is saying that he's known a lot of witches and wizards, and that Harry Potter's mother and father were first-rate, top level, as good as the best witches and wizards that he has known. He might have said "Now, I've never known a better witch or wizard than yer mum an’ dad."

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