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What is the difference between "will not" and "will never"?

Ex) We'll not get in. / We'll never get in.

Ex) I'll not get in. / I'll never get in.

  • Welcome to ELL! Would you explain a little bit more about what you think the difference might be? We can give you a better answer if we understand what is confusing to you. – ColleenV Mar 4 '15 at 4:32
  • I am not a native speaker. So, I'm not sure but, I think "we'll not get in" have intention of action, however, "we'll never get in" seems like fail to get permission. On the other hands, both "I'll not" and "I'll never" has intention of action but, "I'll never" has the strong intention. Is that right? Or is there any general guild lines to use these two expressions? – HYUN TAEK CHOI Mar 4 '15 at 5:45
  • Thanks for the explanation. That was exactly the type of detail I was hoping for. – ColleenV Mar 4 '15 at 14:15
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There can be a difference of intent between the two, depending on the situation.

Say you're waiting in line outside a club. "We'll never get in" can be used to express the idea that it's going to be a long time before you get to the front of the line, possibly too long for your patience. "We'll not get in" would be a little odd in this case - it sounds like you either refuse to get in, or the club's door just closed for new people and you are simply making an observation.

Another use for "never", as Maulik mentioned, is for emphasis. "I won't drink again" sounds less definite than "I'll never drink again".

Sometimes, "never" doesn't make much sense, such as for a single event. "I won't come to your party" means "I refuse to come to your party". "I'll never come to your party" sounds like you're going to die or move to another continent before the party.

  • 1
    I'll never come to your party could mean, I'll never come to any party you ever throw. Also, say we are waiting in line outside a club and we're under the club's age requirements. In that case, We'll never get in might be expressing pessimism about our chances of sneaking past the bouncer. (BTW, I've upvoted your answer, so I'm not critiquing it – I'm merely adding to it. As you said, these example sentences are highly contextual.) – J.R. Mar 4 '15 at 10:35
  • Ironically, "we'll never get in" may be used figuratively to say mean "We might possibly get in, but not without waiting seemingly-forever (but perhaps not as long as the place will be open) first", while "We won't get in" would mean that even if we wait, the place will close without us having gotten in," meaning that the "we'll never get in" is actually less absolute than "we won't get in". – supercat May 2 '15 at 17:32
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The question actually requires some more context but let me cover it in a broader way.

While both mean the same that you, in future, won't do that, 'never' intensifies your unwillingness to not do that thing. Confused? Let's take another simpler example.

Scene 1:

Jack always plays with a strange dog out on the street. His mother says that it is dangerous. One bad day, while playing, the strange dog loudly barks at him. Jack understands the warning and he will not play with the dog any more.

Now..

Scene 2:

Jack always plays with a strange dog out there on the street. His mother says that it is dangerous. One worst day, while playing, the strange dog brutally bites him. Jack gets the worst lesson of life. Now, he will never play with the dog again.

So, when we use 'never' we show that we are more serious about it. I will not go to Sam's party. may be because Sam invites Jacky whom I don't like. But, I will never go to Sam's party because Sam himself insults me.

Hope this helps.

  • @catija -don't do that in future was purposely put! :) – Maulik V Mar 4 '15 at 7:37
  • What was? If I changed something I shouldn't have, change it back. I tried to only fix the grammar errors and to change the emphasis to the words not and never. – Catija Mar 4 '15 at 7:49
  • One does not say "one worse day", or even "one worst day". Try "one terrible day" or some such. – Brian Hitchcock Mar 4 '15 at 8:08
  • @BrianHitchcock I attempted to compare! bad day as 'barking' happened and then worse day as biting happened. There was a hint. And please explain if one bad day is possible, why not one worse/t day is valid. – Maulik V Mar 4 '15 at 8:51
  • Worse is comparative. So, after mentioning "one bad day", you say "A worse day" to make it clear you are referring back comparing to the bad day. The "one" day was bad, and another day was "worse". – Brian Hitchcock Mar 4 '15 at 9:02

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