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  • The orchestra is to perform its last ever concert/last concert ever tomorrow night at the Albert Hall.

  • Yesterday the company announced its first ever fall in profits.

These two sentences have been taken from the following link.

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/ever

I am sorry to say that I cannot understand the meaning of these two sentences. What does "ever" function in these sentences? What does this word (ever) mean? I would be grateful if anybody rewrite those two sentences in different ways without changing their meaning, hence I can easily understand them.

Thanks in advance!

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Mar 18 '17 at 16:04

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    Like your link says, in these cases "ever" emphasizes the adverb "first" or "last." – jejorda2 Mar 18 '17 at 13:58
  • 'Ever' can act as an intensifier meaning 'very', 'very much' etc. – mahmud koya Mar 18 '17 at 14:06
  • It's even used in a childrens register in the expression 'never ever'. (Childrens associative rather than possessive.) – Edwin Ashworth Mar 18 '17 at 14:29
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    It's roughly synonymous with "of all time." So "last ever" is "last one of all time" i.e., the final one; something that will never happen again. "First ever" is "first of all time" i.e., the first one; something that had never happened before. As noted above, it operates like the intensifier "very," so it could become "...announced its very first fall in profits." – MDHunter Mar 18 '17 at 14:32
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    Ever is the suppletive word that English uses instead of the nonexistent *anywhen. As an adverb with comparatives and superlatives (both of which are negative environments, which is good because ever is a Negative Polarity Item), it means at any time; this occurs in many idioms and compounds, like forever, (for) ever and ever, (for) ever after, 'infinite in time'. – John Lawler Mar 18 '17 at 15:04
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"Ever", refers to the timeline.

  • The orchestra is to perform its last ever concert/last concert ever tomorrow night at the Albert Hall.
  • The orchestra's concert, tomorrow night at the Albert Hall, will be the last time they ever perform. (meaning there will be no future performances. they are disbanding)

  • Yesterday the company announced its first ever fall in profits.

  • Yesterday the company made an announcement of its profits. It was the first time ever, to announce a drop-in-profits. (never before, have they announced a drop in profits.)
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The adverb ever is mainly used in negative and interrogative sentences to mean "at any time". Besides, it is used for emphasizing that something has never happened before or should never happen.

In the first sentence, the last ever concert means that it's the last concert that the archestra is going to perform; it will not perform again in the future.

In the second sentence, "the first ever fall in profits" means that it's the first time that there has been a fall in profits; there has never been a fall in profits before.

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