Ever vs never

English grammar (See all)

Want to improve your English? Test our online English lessons for free!

Ever vs never

Ever is used in negative sentences, to express a doubt, or to ask a question. It is the opposite of always:
Don't ever talk to me like that! Never talk to me like that!
If you ever see him, tell him he still owes me money. If you see him at any time, tell him he still owes me money.
Have you ever heard of Flint Westwood? Do you know who Flint Westwood is?

Never and ever share similar meanings but are used differently. Never means 'at no time' and is a negative term, used in affirmative constructions (to avoid double negatives). Ever means 'at any time' and can't be used in affirmative sentences.
I never want to see this boy in your bedroom again.
I don't ever want to see this boy in your bedroom again.
I do not want to see this boy in your bedroom in the future.
He has never seen a nose so big.
He hasn't ever seen a nose so big.
At no time in his life has he seen a nose so big.

Ever is commonly used after superlatives, or restrictive adjectives like only, first:
Harold Warbuckle is the most demanding client I have ever met. I have never met a more demanding client than Harold Warbuckle.
The first job I ever had was in a toothpaste factory. The job in the toothpaste factory was the very first one I had in my life.


Still having difficulties with 'Ever vs never'? Want to improve your English? Test our online English lessons and receive a free level assessment!


Do you have smart way of remembering this rule? A tip to avoid making a mistake on 'Ever vs never'? Share it with us!