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A example:

I don't think I'll ever go there

and the alternative:

I don't think I'll go there ever

And I wanna know is there any difference between both sentences?

Furthermore, I don't know whether ever modifies think or go?

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  • The construction I don't ever think I'll go there would have ever modifying think (with the meaning I never think I will do that = that's not what I ever think, as opposed to I think I will never do that = [I think] that's not what I will ever do). Feb 22, 2021 at 16:33
  • See this NGram showing that will not ever go there is a perfectly common sequence of words, but will not go there ever is too rare to even show on the chart. Feb 22, 2021 at 16:50
  • ...and don't even think about will go there never as an alternative to will never go there. Feb 22, 2021 at 16:51

1 Answer 1

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They are roughly the same. To my ear the "ever" in the second version is a little more forceful.

"ever" modifies "go" in both sentences.

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  • The only reason I can see for saying that the second version is "more forceful" is that it's "marked" ("non-standard", not what we'd expect). When a competent native speaker uses such a "marked" form, we can almost always assume he intends some different kind of meaning. Often, the intended different meaning is contextually obvious (but it could be just about anything). But if there's no obvious alternative meaning, the "default" is just non-standard phrasing conveys emphasis (if only because it forces the reader to pause and think "Why did he phrase it like that?"). Feb 22, 2021 at 16:28
  • (I can't upvote because of "They are roughly the same". They're not - the second version very uncommon by comparison with the first version, and it's that very fact that causes us to assign it a slightly different meaning.) Feb 22, 2021 at 16:30
  • @FumbleFingers The second is more unusual (as you have verified) and it's the rarity that makes me notice the "ever" and give it a little more weight. Nevertheless I think it reasonable to say they are "roughly the same". We can disagree. Feb 22, 2021 at 16:38
  • I suppose really it's just the word "roughly" that bothers me here. Which makes little sense really, because I'd probably have been perfectly happy with They mean essentially the same thing. And I think the only reason I like that alternative is because whenever I write that myself, I'm always about to follow it up with a but... In this case, the big "but" being that there's a huge difference in prevalence for the two forms (which from my perspective is pretty much the only reason there's any difference in "meaning" anyway). Feb 22, 2021 at 16:47
  • Why ever modify go in second sentence? Because it is closer to go? It's a rule?
    – yixuan
    Feb 23, 2021 at 14:33

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