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Can I say 'It's all I've ever been fighting for'?

What I want to mean is that I've been fighting for 'it' all my life, especially when I want to justify a decision I'm about to take.

For instance,

'I don't care about their threats. I'm not going to give up on my hope for equal rights. It's all I've ever been fighting for.'

I'm asking if this phrase is correct because I couldn't find any result on google.

Another thing, what would change if I said 'always' instead of 'ever'?

It's all I've always/ever been fighting for.

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    Always is not right in this context (though you could say It's what I've always fought for). Ngrams brings up expressions like It's all I've ever been good at, so I don't see why you can't say It's all I've ever fought/been fighting for. Aug 23, 2022 at 12:17
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    We could give a better answer with more context, with one or more sentences you intend to put before and/or after the one you are asking about. Aug 23, 2022 at 16:09
  • @DavidSiegel Thanks for your interest. I've just added an example. Hope it will help.
    – Fra
    Aug 23, 2022 at 16:36
  • @Fra Yes that helps. I am partway through an answer, Such additional context often helps in questions on this site. Aug 23, 2022 at 16:38

1 Answer 1

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The sentence:

(1) It's all I've ever been fighting for.

is grammatically valid, and a fluent speaker might well use it. There is nothing wrong with it as a matter of English. However, I suspect that the meaning is not the intended one.

Sentence (1) suggests that "it" is the only thing that the speaker has ever fought for, but leaves open the possibility that much of the time then speaker has not fought for anything at all. If the intent is to say that "it" has long been the speaker's object, then the idea might be expressed as one of:

  • (2) It's what I've always been fighting for.
  • (3) It's what I've fought for all my life.
  • (4) It's what I've always been focused on.
  • (5) I've been fighting for it for many years.

There are many ways to phrase a meaning similar to one of these.

However, the suggested alternative:

(6) It's all I've always been fighting for.Red X indicating invalid form

does not work. The words "All" and "always" do not work together in that way, and if they did, the repetitive sound of the first syllable of "all" would distract the listener. (I can't really give any specific "rule" that (6) violates.) (2) is a close variant. Another possibility would be:

  • (7) It's the thing that I've always been fighting for. Green check-mark, showing acceptable form
  • (8) It's always been my main goal. Green check-mark, showing acceptable form
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  • Thanks for your answer. Yes, 'all' literally suggests that the speaker might not have fought for anything else. Your suggestions (replacing 'all' with 'what') are definitely 'safer' in this regard. But could it be that the speaker is using big words--i.e. 'all' and 'ever'--only to emphasize that 'it' has been a very important cause throughout his life? If so, would this make him sound a little too melodramatic?
    – Fra
    Aug 23, 2022 at 17:57
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    @Fra Yes, the use of "all" could ,be largely a matter of style and emphasis. There is nothing wrong with the word "all" grammatically, except for example (6). Whether a statement is too dramatic is a judgement call, and also depends on tone of voice and manner of speech or writing. I only gave some examples that might work, to help you formulate what seems good to you, and indicate forms that are valid Aug 23, 2022 at 19:39

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