using ever with negative statements

Joseph A

Senior Member
Kurdish
Helo everyone,
Is it okay to use "ever" with negative statements as follows?
He hasn't ever visited Morocco.
As far as I know, this usage wrong, but I found the following example in google:
I haven't ever been here before.
Regards,
Joseph
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    He hasn't ever visited Morocco.
    He has not ever visited Morocco.
    He has never visited Morocco.

    These are all correct, and mean the same thing.
     

    Laurentiana

    Member
    English - Canada
    Generally He has never visited Morocco is preferred. In the examples you gave, ever is superfluous.

    However, as often happens in English, syllable or word stress can make a difference.

    In conversation, where the frequency of someone’s visits to Morocco was in doubt, a participant wishing to contradict the others might say either

    As far as I know, he’s never visited Morocco.

    or

    As far as I know, he hasn’t ever visited Morocco.

    In this case ever is not superfluous, because it’s stressed.

    The grammatical mood also makes a difference. Here’s the interrogative with ever and never added as emphasizers:

    Hasn’t he ever visited Morocco?
    Has he never visited Morocco?


    Both are correct, with or without the stressed words, although the context would influence the speaker’s choice. As given above there would be a slight preference in AmE for the first and BrE for the second.

    Finally, imperative mood, again for added emphasis:

    Don’t ever visit Morocco.
    Don‘t never visit Morocco.


    The first is correct. The second is incorrect in Standard but would be heard among some populations of English speakers.

    paul
     

    Joseph A

    Senior Member
    Kurdish
    Why do you think that?
    Thanks a lot.
    Because I didn't know that.
    Generally He has never visited Morocco is preferred. In the examples you gave, ever is superfluous.

    However, as often happens in English, syllable or word stress can make a difference.

    In conversation, where the frequency of someone’s visits to Morocco was in doubt, a participant wishing to contradict the others might say either

    As far as I know, he’s never visited Morocco.

    or

    As far as I know, he hasn’t ever visited Morocco.

    In this case ever is not superfluous, because it’s stressed.

    The grammatical mood also makes a difference. Here’s the interrogative with ever and never added as emphasizers:

    Hasn’t he ever visited Morocco?
    Has he never visited Morocco?


    Both are correct, with or without the stressed words, although the context would influence the speaker’s choice. As given above there would be a slight preference in AmE for the first and BrE for the second.

    Finally, imperative mood, again for added emphasis:

    Don’t ever visit Morocco.
    Don‘t never visit Morocco.


    The first is correct. The second is incorrect in Standard but would be heard among some populations of English speakers.

    paul
    Thanks a lot.
    That means, "He has ever visited Morocco." is also correct. Is it right?
    :thumbsup::thumbsup:
    Post #4 is a very impressive analysis. Of course I agree with all of it.
     

    Laurentiana

    Member
    English - Canada
    No. Your title and question were about negative constructions, so I tried to cover that in my post. Now you’ve given us a positive construction. In effect it’s a double positive, which is just as wrong as a double negative.

    “Ever” and “never” are adverbs. They have no place in a sentence unless they’re modifying something - in this case a verb. All verbs are positive by default. Therefore, “never” can modify any verb simply by making it negative. “Ever” when combined with “not” can do the same thing. Otherwise “ever” must have some other meaning-changing power. In your sentence it doesn’t have that power. If you left it out, what would the sentence mean? It would mean the subject “he” has visited Morocco (maybe once, maybe more than once). Can “ever” change that meaning? Can it modify the verb “has visited”? No, it can’t. It has no place in the sentence.

    But - here’s your sentence incorporated in an exchange in which “ever” does have a place:

    “How many times has he visited Morocco?” she asked.

    “I don’t know whether he has ever visited Morocco,” he replied.


    Three things have changed to give “ever” the ability to modify. One is the context. The questioner thinks the subject has been to Morocco, perhaps more than once, and the responder says it’s not clear that he has been at all. “Ever” serves to clarify - it modifies the verb by adding the meaning “at any time” or “even once.” Second, as in the negative expressions we discussed earlier, “ever” has an emphasizing function. In speech it would have to be stressed. Third, instead of standing on its own, your sentence has become a subordinate clause in a negative-stating sentence. Without the “not” in “don’t know” these words would make no sense. So we’re back to the idea of “ever” needing a negative element added to have a place in a sentence in the indicative mood.
     

    Joseph A

    Senior Member
    Kurdish
    He has 'ever visited Morocco' is not correct.:cross:
    You can ask 'Has he ever visited Morocco?'
    Thanks a lot.
    No. Your title and question were about negative constructions, so I tried to cover that in my post. Now you’ve given us a positive construction. In effect it’s a double positive, which is just as wrong as a double negative.

    “Ever” and “never” are adverbs. They have no place in a sentence unless they’re modifying something - in this case a verb. All verbs are positive by default. Therefore, “never” can modify any verb simply by making it negative. “Ever” when combined with “not” can do the same thing. Otherwise “ever” must have some other meaning-changing power. In your sentence it doesn’t have that power. If you left it out, what would the sentence mean? It would mean the subject “he” has visited Morocco (maybe once, maybe more than once). Can “ever” change that meaning? Can it modify the verb “has visited”? No, it can’t. It has no place in the sentence.

    But - here’s your sentence incorporated in an exchange in which “ever” does have a place:

    “How many times has he visited Morocco?” she asked.

    “I don’t know whether he has ever visited Morocco,” he replied.


    Three things have changed to give “ever” the ability to modify. One is the context. The questioner thinks the subject has been to Morocco, perhaps more than once, and the responder says it’s not clear that he has been at all. “Ever” serves to clarify - it modifies the verb by adding the meaning “at any time” or “even once.” Second, as in the negative expressions we discussed earlier, “ever” has an emphasizing function. In speech it would have to be stressed. Third, instead of standing on its own, your sentence has become a subordinate clause in a negative-stating sentence. Without the “not” in “don’t know” these words would make no sense. So we’re back to the idea of “ever” needing a negative element added to have a place in a sentence in the indicative mood.
    Thanks a lot.
     
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