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I am confused when it comes to using NEVER and EVER in some sentences. Will you kindly help me out? I have actually tried to look up their meanings in the dictionary, and I understand some of their functions; however, when I encountered the following statements, I got confused as to whether they are correct, or whether some of them are incorrect. Here they are:

  1. It's nothing like anything I have ever seen before.
  2. It's like nothing we've ever seen before.
  3. She's nothing like any woman I have ever met before.
  4. It's nothing like anything I have never seen before.

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  • Hi Aqua. Have you looked up never and ever in a dictionary? Please update your question to include what about their definitions you do not understand. – Matt Ellen Jun 25 '14 at 9:42
  • Hi RegDwight and Matt, thank you for the comment. I have actually tried to look their meanings in the dictionary and I understand some of their functions however when I encountered these statements, I got confused whether these are correct or some of them are incorrect. Here are the statements : 1. " It's nothing like anything I have ever seen before." 2."It's like nothing we've ever seen before." 3. She's nothing like any woman I have ever met before. 4. It's nothing like anything I have never seen before. .. Thanks. – Learner Jun 26 '14 at 0:28
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Your first three sentences are correct (and are pretty much variations of the same concept), while the fourth one (with 'never') is incorrect.

Let's start by comparing these two:

This thingamajig is nothing like anything I have ever seen before.

This thingamajig is something I have never seen before.

Both of these carry with them the meaning of "it's new to me". The first sentence means basically, "I have seen many things in my life, and none of those things are like this thingamajig" - in other words, you're comparing the thingamajig to everything you've seen before in your life. The second sentence reads along the lines of "I have never seen something like this thingamajig".

Also, notice that both of these sentences only have one negative (nothing + ever, something + never).

Now, let's look at this incorrect sentence:

This thingamajig is nothing like anything I have never seen before.

First of all, notice that here you have two negatives ("nothing" + "never"), which makes for a convoluted sentence in and of itself (even without the extra fun that "anything" adds).

But also, what are you comparing the thingamajig to here? To the "anything" (ie. everything) you have "never seen before". So not only are you comparing it to things you've never seen, you're comparing it to everything you've never seen. This makes for a bizarre statement, and an illogical one as well (since the things you've never seen before also include the thingamajig and its twin sister).

Does that help?

  • Hi @Alicja Z , thank you so much. You explained it well. I understood them clearly. Now, I am not confused with those sentences any more. Thank you so much for your help. – Learner Jun 27 '14 at 1:11
  • Glad I could help :) – Alicja Z Jun 27 '14 at 14:21

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