Main Difference: Ever and Never are two adverbs that have opposite meanings. The main difference between ever and never is that ever is generally used in interrogatives while never is used in statements.
Ever – Meaning and Usage
Ever is a commonly used adverbs in interrogative sentences. However, it is also used in general statements. This is used directly before the main verb. But in the case of modal verbs, this can be seen between the modal and the infinitive verb. When speaking about a past incident with ‘ever’, we use present perfect tense. Ever could have several meanings according to different contexts. They are,
At any time
Have you ever been to the zoo?
Have you ever regretted that decision?
Nothing ever seems to disturb her.
Has she ever been abroad?
Always, all the time on every occasion.
Cinderella and Prince Charming lived happily ever after.
He is ever busy.
Very, increasingly (acts as a intensifier for adjectives)
She was ever so friendly.
This organization desires to grow ever bigger.
It is also used for emphasis in questions expressing astonishment or outrage. For example observe the question, “Who ever had heard of such a thing?”. Ever does not add a definite meaning to the question, but it emphasizes the astonishment.
Never – Meaning and Usage
Never is the opposite of Ever. It is a contraction of not ever. This is used directly before the main verb. But in the case of model verbs, this can be seen between the model and the infinitive verb. Never means,
At no time in the past or future or not ever
I have never been to Rome.
She will never forget that incident.
Never have I seen, such a lazy boy.
Not at all, not in any circumstance
A brave man never cowers.
He never turned up.
Winners are not people who never fail, but people who never give up.
Though Ever and Never are antonyms, we can use these two words in some sentences, to get the same overall meaning. For example, look at the sentence pairs given below.
Don’t ever stop breathing → Never stop breathing.
He has never looked better → He looks better than ever.
This is the worst food I have ever eaten → I have never eaten a worse food.
Difference Between Ever and Never
Ever means always, at any time or increasingly.
Never means not ever or not at all.
Ever is mostly used in interrogatives.
Never is mostly used in statements.
“Disneyworld fireworks – 0243” by © Jorge Royan. (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons
Quotes – “Never Give Up”via (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr