We always say:

I have never been to London.

But is it possible to say:

I haven't ever been to London.


I haven't been to London.

The task was:

Find a mistake in the following sentence: "She hasn't never been to London."

So, here "not" is unnecessary. But I have a question regarding this construction. Can I use the word "ever" in this kind of sentences? Can I say "I haven't ever been to London."? I've found the information that ever is rather used in the interrogative sentences ("Have you ever been to London?" or "Haven't you ever been to London?") than in the affirmative ones.

  • 4
    Asking "is it possible" without explaining why you doubt that it is possible can get very short answers that "just answer the question". If you could explain your doubt, you might get a more useful answer.
    – James K
    Feb 21, 2021 at 9:57
  • 3
    To add to James' comment, yes. It is possible to say both those things. I would love to answer in more detail if you would like to expand your question to explain why you thought they might not be valid sentences. Feb 21, 2021 at 10:18
  • 1
    All three choices are correct. There are some circumstances where the double-negative may be correct. In the case of reported speech, it could be correct because some people use a double-negative as reinforcement. Their education might be described as lacking. In the case of She hasn't never been to London. - it could be that she is falsely claiming to have never been to London. In speech, there would be change in intonation and a pause between hasn't and never. In writing, that idea would be conveyed using quotation marks :She hasn't "never been to London".
    – Magoo
    Feb 21, 2021 at 17:20
  • There is additional connotation to the question "Haven't you ever been to London?" It implies an expected answer of "I have not", and also expresses surprise that the person hasn't ever been to London. It would most likely also relate to a previous idea by implying "You would know [a certain fact] if you had been to London."
    – aschepler
    Feb 21, 2021 at 20:54
  • 2
    @Magoo ‘education ... described as lacking’ is only accurate if you were to insist that vernacular speech must follow the rules of formal logic as was frequently suggested when the ‘no double negatives’ rule got shoehorned into English grammar. Feb 21, 2021 at 21:02

4 Answers 4

  1. This sentence is wrong because it contains a double negative:

"She hasn't never been to London."

  1. Can I use the word "ever" in this kind of sentence? Yes!

She hasn't ever been to London.

Don't ever lie to me!

Not ever = never

But not ever is much less common, and you cannot move it to the front as you can with never.

Never have I lied to you! (emphatic)

Not ever have I lied to you!

  • Using a different word order, "I have not ever lied to you" sounds more acceptable to my ear. Feb 22, 2021 at 20:48

You are quite right. The sentence "She hasn't never been to London" is incorrect because of the juxtaposition of two negatives "not" (contracted) and "never". You can correct this in any of your three suggested ways: remove the first negative ("she has never"), remove the second ("she hasn't") or make the second positive ("she hasn't ever").

There's not a great deal of difference between the options. The simple "she hasn't" could be a weaker statement if there is an implicit period of time being referred to, whereas the others definitely mean never. The final option "she hasn't ever" is perhaps more emphatic (and less common) than "she has never".


Your proposed correction to the sentence

She hasn't never been to London.

is correct. Just leave out the not.

As for your other doubts it is perfectly in order to use ever in an affirmative

I have never done X
I haven't ever done X

are equivalent.

The parallel questions also work

Have you never done X?
Haven't you ever done X?

These are equivalent too.

Note that double negatives are often used by speakers of English for emphasis. People say things like "I did not see nothing", "I have not done nothing" but such uses are avoided by careful speakers in formal situations. If you want to emphasise the point in your original sentence you would say:

I have never ever been to London

  • Heck no to "She hasn't never been to London" to being correct. It's a double negative.
    – RonJohn
    Feb 21, 2021 at 19:18
  • 1
    What does "She hasn't never been to London" mean to you? Is there a state of "never been to London" that she hasn't ever entered? Double negatives tend to be meaningless in English.
    – Flydog57
    Feb 22, 2021 at 1:23
  • @RonJohn the OP suggested a correction (omitting not) and in my answer I agreed with the OP that their correction was correct. If I understand your comment correctly you agree so I am a bit puzzled by the "Heck no" which starts your comment.
    – mdewey
    Feb 22, 2021 at 11:06
  • @Flydog57 as I stated in my answer the correction proposed by the OP is correct (dropping not) so I think the sentence is ugly and bordering on meaningless.
    – mdewey
    Feb 22, 2021 at 11:08
  • I reread your answer, and now I understand what you mean. As for what my comment means: I replied to (what I thought was) your assertion that "She hasn't never been to London" is correct with an emphatic "Heck no".
    – RonJohn
    Feb 22, 2021 at 11:20

I don’t think the first sentence containing ever. I read the question sentence, and the “not never” part isn’t correct. It seems like that 2 negatives are together in the question sentence, and that breaks the rules.

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