Native speakers sometime use ever word and I cannot understand why it is used in the question.

For instance:

When am I ever going to use this?

I wonder that what does the speaker specify with using of ever word in the questions above?

  • Ever is effectively just an optional "intensifier" in your context. You could replace it there by, for example, even once, which would convey exactly the same emphasis. – FumbleFingers Aug 15 '19 at 15:01
  • I am never ever going to use this. Never ever is an intensifier

  • Question form: When am I ever going to use this?

In the background of this particular interrogative usage, there is always this idea of the declarative with never ever.

Please note: The expectation of this type of question is a negative answer. These types of question can also be somewhat rhetorical.

Let's say that for some reason someone gives you an item of clothing that you really dislike.

If you ask the question: When am I ever going to wear this?

It is really a kind of rhetorical question because it's obvious from your tone that you hate it.

So, your friends who are with you might say: NEVER [shouting]. For example.


In the sentence above, ever means if the person is actually going to use it at least once. The person is questioning whether they will actually need the item and if it will ever benefit them.

  • There is no implication of using it more than once. – Lambie Aug 15 '19 at 16:28

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