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“You’re still the prettiest girl I’ve ever met.”
(Ken Follett, Fall of Giants)

I guess the clause give a range for picking up one out of it. Does the clause give a meaning of basket out of which the speaker can pick one?

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    Could you try restating your question, I am not able to parse it as written.
    – Jim
    Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 1:31
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    If I understand correctly, the answer is the same as to your previous question. If someone is the best/smartest/prettiest person/wizard you've ever met/known, it means that of all the people/wizards you've ever met/known in your entire life, this person is the most good/smart/pretty.
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 2:07
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    Re: your edit: Not really... It's already been qualified by saying you are the prettiest girl. There's no one to pick from, because before the speaker says "I've ever met" they've already chosen the girl and defined her as the prettiest. You are the prettiest girl in the room means "Of every girl in this room, you are the prettiest." You are the prettiest girl I've ever met means "Of every girl I've ever met, you are the prettiest." It's just like your other question; it's not any more complex than that. Does that make sense? :)
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 2:19

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Semantically, I think you're right:

You’re the prettiest girl.

This means that, out of some unspecified set of girls, the listener is the prettiest. (The set is determined by context; it could be all girls, or it could be a much smaller set.)

But you can specify the set:

You're the prettiest girl in the whole world.

Now the set is all the girls on Earth. Of that set, she is the prettiest. This is quite a compliment!

Of course, the set can be much smaller:

You're the prettiest girl in the room.

Now the set is all the girls in the room. Of that set, she is the prettiest.

(Of course, if she's the only girl in the room, that might not be a compliment! In that case, the sentence would be a type of insult called damning with faint praise.)

Now, let's look at your sentence:

You're the prettiest girl I've ever met.

The set is all the girls the speaker has ever met. Of that set, the listener is the prettiest.

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  • I understand well. Whenever I read the construction, I unwittingly insert "of that" in the sentence, yet there's none of it in fact. That's why I'm confused. Thank you very much
    – Listenever
    Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 2:33

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