Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. My name is Alisha. Today I'm going to talk about the difference or some of the differences between the words "never" and "ever." There are a lot of questions about how to use these words so let's take a look.
Okay, the first word I want to start with is "never." Let's talk about "never" to begin. "Never" is an adverb. It means at no time in the past or in the future. "Never" is the contracted form of the words, "not" and "ever." So, "not" and "ever" together make "never." "Never" means at no time. We use "never" in a few different situations. I'm going to explain some examples now. We use "never" to give statements or to give advice or to explain a statement rather.
Let's look at a couple of examples. First, "Never skip breakfast." "Never skip breakfast," is an example of advice. Advice or perhaps we could consider this a command. So, "Never skip breakfast," meaning at no time should you or should one skip breakfast. "Never skip breakfast," as a command or a type of advice, in this case.
In a statement, however, we see this example, "I never travel with lots of cash." This is a statement of fact. In this case, I'm using the present tense, "I never travel." You can use the past tense, "I've never traveled," as well. But, keep in mind, "never" shows "at no time do I travel," in present tense, in this case, "with lots of cash." So, this is an example of a statement, a simple statement with the word, "never."
Okay, let's look at another way to use the word, "never." We use "never" in cases where we want to explain an absence of experience. So, no experience, no life experience with something. We use this with the past participle verb. So, it's "never" with the past participle form of the verb in these patterns. For example, "I've never been to Vietnam." Here, I've got the contracted, "I've" which is the contracted form of "I have." "I have never been to Vietnam." "Been" is my past participial verb here.
Another example, "He's never eaten kimchi." Here, the contraction, "He's" is "he is" refers to "he"โ€”I'm sorry the contracted form of "He's" refers to "he has" in this sentence. So, "He's never eaten kimchi." "He has never eaten kimchi." My past participle verb is "eaten" here. So, we use these to talk about no experience, no life experience with something. This one is maybe one that many of you have had a lot of practice with.
Okay, let's look at another one that requires some changes to your intonation perhaps. When we ask questions for confirmation, as in yes or no questions, we can use the word, "never." Keep in mind that these expressions are used with kind of a nuance of disbelief or surprised. You're surprised about something and you're asking the question just to check with the other person, "Is this correct?" For example, "You've never been sick?!" So, the emphasis here is on the word, "never" with the voice. "You've never been sick?!" Again, you can see, I have the past participle form of the verb here. So, we're saying, "You have never been," meaning have the experience of, "You have never had the experience of being sick." Here, I've used a very informal kind of punctuation. I've used a question mark and an exclamation point. But, generally, we should only use one type of punctuation here. But, with your voice, you should emphasize the word, "never." The nuance here is disbelief.
Let's look at another example. "She's never taken a day off?!" So, again, with my voice, I emphasized the word, "never," she's never taken a day off. So, I'm surprised by this information. I'm surprised to hear and I want to confirm because it sounds like it could be untrue, it sounds like it might not be real so I use this to confirm what I've just heard or what I've just learned. When you answer these questions, by the way, sometimes it's a little bit difficult even for native speakers to decide. "Should I say, 'yes' or 'no?'" If you want to be very clear, you can say, "That's right. I've never been sick." in this example. Or, "That's right. She's never taken a day off." You can use, "That's right," or "You're right," or "Yes, that's right," to explain an answer to this question.
Okay, so those are a few examples of ways we can use the word, "never" in some sentence patterns.
Let's take a look now at the word, "ever." So, "ever" has a few more situations than "never" does. I want to explain these today. So, first, again, "ever" like "never" is an adverb. But, "ever" means at any time or at all times. Keep in mind that "never" means at no time. "Ever" means at any time or at all time. You can think of these a little bit as opposites, in a way. We use ever when we're making questions. So, for example, "Have you ever eaten Thai food?" or "Has she ever called you?" Here, we see the words, "ever" meaning at any time. So, "At any time has she called you?" "At any time have you eaten Thai food?" This is a different way to ask the question. You'll notice, these types of questions will get these kinds of responses. A negative response, admittedly. But, there's a connection here, when you want to make a negative response, you can use "never." So, these are example questions, this type of question maybe you're familiar with. Again, we see the past participle form of the verb in these question sentences, "eaten" and "called" here. This is one way that we can use the word, "ever."
And another way, we can use it when we make negative statements. Let's take a look at some examples. First, "He hasn't ever yelled at me." So, here's "ever." And, "They haven't ever been to France." So, once more, we see this past participle form of the verb, "yelled" and "been" in these examples. But, we see also, I'm using the negative, "has not" and "have not." So, there's this negative, "not" before the word, "ever" here. Please keep in mind you can use "never" in these situations but you need to change the sentence slightly. So, you can use the negative form as we have here plus "ever" like, "has not ever" or "have not ever" or you can simply use the word, "never." Hmm. For example, "He's never yelled at me," or "They've never been to France," because remember, the word, "never" is a contraction of the words, "not" and "ever." So, regardless of which you choose, both sentences are okay, both sentences explain the same meaning.
Okay, let's look at another example. Superlatives. Superlatives, remember, superlatives mean like the most something the most plus an adjective. So, the highest level of something. For example, "She made the most delicious chocolate cake I've ever eaten." So, here is a superlative, "most delicious" and here I'm saying, "in my life." "The most delicious one I have ever eaten." You might also see this sentence simplified to, "She made the most delicious chocolate cake ever." This "ever" contains the meaning, "I've ever eaten." So, native speakers like to simplify this expression at the end of the sentence with just the word, "ever." You might hear this. Another very common example is this expression, "Best day ever," meaning today, for me, was the best day in my life. "Best day ever." You might see this with superlatives. Here the superlative is "best."
Okay. We also see the word, "ever" used when we talk about the first time to do something, our first time doing something. For example, "This is the first timeโ€”" I'm sorry. "This is the first time I've ever traveled abroad." Forgot my "ever" there. "This is the first time I've ever traveled abroad." So, here, "ever" acts as an emphasizer for first time. The sentence, "This is the first time I've traveled abroad," is fine actually. But, "ever" emphasizes that. "The first time in my whole life," in other words, at all times. "This is the first time I've ever traveled abroad." You'll see "ever" acting kind of to emphasize the expression in first-time sentences.
We can use "ever" when we make comparisons. I talked about the superlative form here like, "most delicious" or "best" in my examples but you'll see here in the expressions, "Higher than ever," or "faster than ever," or "stronger than ever." We can use "ever" to make the comparison. Here we also use, "than." So, "ever" here is meaning at any time in the past, anytime previous to this statement. For example, "Profits are higher than ever," "ever" referring to any time in the past. Or, "These cars are faster than ever," meaning at any time in the past, "Compared to any time in the past, the cars available now are faster." So, we can use "ever" to make comparisons quite easily too.
Next, let's look at some commands. There's a fairly limited number of natural commands that we use with the word, "ever" but some examples might be, "Don't ever say that," or "Don't ever lie to me." Again, this same rule, negative plus "ever" or "never." This can also apply here. So, for example, "Never say that," or "Never lie to me." We can use those expressions too. You'll just see these two, "Don't ever say that," or "Don't ever lie to me." These might be a couple of other ways people use the expression, people use a command form. But, again, the same rule applies. Negative plus "ever."
Alright. Almost finished. Let's take a look at adjectives intensifiers. You might see this in more formal situations or perhaps in slightly old-fashioned writing. "Ever" can act as an adjective intensifier when used with a word, "so." So, "ever so" plus adjective. For example, "Ever so delicious." "This cake was ever so delicious," or "She was ever so kind." These just emphasize the adjective that follows. They're just essentially meaning "very," really, or "extremely" but they sound quite formal, they sound rather polite though. We can use "ever" to intensify to strengthen the meaning of an adjective.
Okay. Those are the main points I want to talk but one final thing is the expression, "Never ever." A couple of examples, "I never ever eat junk food," or "He never ever comes to work late," or "We never ever forget to lock the house." These sentences use both "never" and "ever" together. Let's take a look what does this mean. Actually, "never ever" is just an emphasis for the word, "never." So, meaning at no time anytime does this thing happen. So, it's an emphasis for the word "never." That's what "never ever" means. Emphasis. "Never ever" means emphasis on the word, "never." So, if you see this, that's what it means.
Okay. Those are a few ways that you can use the words, "never" and "ever." Of course, there are many different situations and many different sentences where you can use these. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to let us know in the comment section below this video.
What else? I guess that's it.
Okay. So, thanks very much for watching this episode and I will see you again soon. Please make sure to hit the like button if you haven't already and subscribe to the channel too. You can check us out at EnglishClass101.com for more good stuff to study. Thanks very much and I'll see you again next time. Bye-bye.


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