Pages Navigation Menu

Habla inglés con el Método Callan en Barcelona - Callan Method

Ever and never

The adverbs ever and never have specific uses and express unidentified times before now. They are very useful when it comes to talking about life experiences, and we use them very often with the perfect tenses, but not exclusively.

The word ‘ever’ is positive and we use it in questions (not never). If we want to ask somebody about their life experiences, we can say ‘Have you ever been to Morocco?’, or ‘Have you ever swum in the Dead Sea? ‘. This works in exactly the same way in negative sentences – ‘Haven’t you ever tasted Indian food?’.


Remember that in English, two negatives make a positive idea, so we must say ‘I haven’t ever been to Chile’, not ‘I haven’t never been to Chile’. The second sentence means that, in fact, you HAVE visited Chile. You can only use one negative, so your options are ever + negative idea, or only negative (never). Never means at NO time before (exactly the same as not…ever). We tend to use it only in the negative, and not in questions.

For example,

‘I have never been spoken to like that.’

‘I haven’t ever been spoken to like that.’

‘She hasn’t ever told me about her family. She keeps a lot of secrets from me.’

‘She has never told me about her family. She keeps a lot of secrets from me.’

Ever is also used to express a first time, or the first experience of something. ‘This is the first time he’s ever seen an ostrich!’ or ‘It’s his first ever swimming lesson.’.

So, you don’t ever need to worry about being confused about ‘ever’ and ‘never’ again!

E. Lawrenson