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It was the best evening of Harry's life, better than winning at Quidditch, or Christmas, or knocking out mountain trolls... he would never, ever forget tonight. (Harry Potter)

What’s the meaning or function of ‘ever’ in this sentence?

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Saying "never, ever" is more emphatic than saying "never" alone. Apart from emphasis, the meaning remains the same.

0

The relevant OED definition here is:

ever adv. throughout all past or all future time; perpetually.

...but it's worth bearing in mind that since never derives from ne- (not) ever, it's really just repetition for the sake of emphasis. Related usages include:

never in a month of Sundays
never in a million years

  • I have no idea why this was voted down--it's a good answer. +1. – snailcar Feb 21 '13 at 0:11
  • @snailplane: Thanks for sparing me the ignominy of having a negative net score! I can't see any valid reason either, but perhaps it's "payback" for one of my all-too-often acerbic comments elsewhere. Or, as happens from time to time, I'm just in the sites of a serial-downvoter troll. Every month or so I suddenly get a rep boost when the mods identify and delete a troll's account, so I try not to take unexplained downvotes too seriously. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 21 '13 at 0:23

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