1: I walked up and asked, “What is the matter?” and I regret ever doing that.1
2: You can see by the situation I'm in that I regret ever using drugs.2

Is this ever grammatical here?

OxfordDictionaries includes the definitions at any time and at all times; always. In the cited usages, does it mean "I [now] regret having done [the regretted thing] at any time in the past"? That seems unlikely in the context of #1, since the action could obviously only have happened at one specific time.

Or does it mean "I always regret / have always regretted doing it"? In which case, is the regret implied to have started immediately after I did it? That seems unlikely in the context of #2, since presumably the speaker repeatedly used drugs after the first time.

1. That a Man Can Stand: The Evolution of a Nation

2. Google

  • 1
    @BobRodes - I agree the question could use some additional information. (Where is this quote from? Why is the ever a source of confusion?) That said, I'm not sure that those definitions of ever answer or clear up the problem. (But maybe that was your point? Without additional information, it's hard to tell what's really being asked.)
    – J.R.
    Jun 15, 2014 at 21:14
  • 3
    @BobRodes I would suggest you to move with such passive-aggressive comments to ELU. To be honest, I do know what ever means (very likely OP knows it as well), but its usage in such a sentence and moreover in the middle of it is IMHO rather unsual and while I get the meaning, I'm far from understanding what is behind it gramatically. So +1 for the question.
    – yo'
    Jun 15, 2014 at 21:15
  • I still think the question is hard to answer without a source. I can't find one. This could be a request for proofreading, or maybe it asks about an archaic quote, or it could even be typo (perhaps the original was supposed to say even, not ever). I think more information is needed before this can be properly answered.
    – J.R.
    Jun 15, 2014 at 21:23
  • As you will. However, googling "definition ever", looking at the first link, and evaluating the definitions answered the question for me. That's why I lmgtfy'd the OP. I suppose his putting a note on my answer to another of his questions that pretty clearly showed that he didn't go to the trouble of reading it had something to do with it as well. I'm getting that "help vampire" feeling, you know? Maybe IT forums are stricter about this, but it seems to me that we also expect someone to at least try to answer a question for himself before asking here.
    – BobRodes
    Jun 15, 2014 at 21:37
  • @tohecz I'm sorry, but this looks simple to me. The meaning is "I was sorry that I had ever decided to do this for myself." The meaning "at any time" from the dictionary clearly applies, with the converse "I wished that I had not at any time (never) decided to do this for myself." Seems clear to me that the OP didn't even bother to look up the word in the dictionary, so I actively-aggressively suggested that he start participating in his own edification to the extent that he's able. :)
    – BobRodes
    Jun 15, 2014 at 21:52

2 Answers 2


It is very correct and quite common. I think the best way to explain it is to paraphrase its meaning:

It implies (in your example at least):

"[I regret] that it even occurred to me to do such a thing"

or more dramatically

"I rue the moment I decided to do such a thing (in the first place)"

or in a roundabout way:

"I wish I'd never done such-and-such"


The 'ever' in your examples is grammatical. It's used to make an expression more emphatic.

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