About the meaning of "ever"

I’m not sure about the meaning of “ever”,
the meaning seems to change depending on sentences
as below. What is the “core meaning” of “ever”?

  1. Have you ever been to Hawaii?
  2. No one will ever know.
  3. Where did you ever get the money ?
  4. Does he ever calls you?

From 1 to 3, I assume that “ever” means
“even once in your whole life”

However, what is the meaning of the sentence 4?
“Does he call you often?” or
“Has he called you in your whole life?” or
"Will he call you sometime in the future?

My dictonary says that “ever” could mean
“at any time”, “always”, “constantly” and sometimes used to emphasize.
It’s really confusing…help!! :cry:

There are quite a few uses of “ever”, yes, and a core meaning will probably exist for each group of “ever”.

Here, I would say there is no shared core meaning.

Have you ever been to the USA?
She was ever so nice to me.

Can you discern a core meaning here?

dictionary.cambridge.org/results … hword=ever

No, I can’t.

Could you tell me the difference b/w them below?

  1. Does he ever calls you?
  2. Has he ever called you?


Hi Hime

This sentence asks whether you have visited Hawaii at any time in the past, even if it was only one time.

This sentence says that no one (else) will know about something at any time – not even in the future.

The word “ever” is used for emphasis here. It’s similar to saying “Where on earth did you get the money?”

Does he ever call you? ==> I’d say this sentence differs from sentence 1 in that the use of the simple present tense suggests that the speaker wants to know whether he is in the habit of calling, and how frequently he calls – if he calls at any time at all. To me, the basic meaning of “ever” in this sentence is also “at any time”.

You might find this thread useful:
Difference between ever seen and Never seen

OK, so you say “Does he ever call you?” means “Does he call you often?” and “How often does he call you?”
Does “ever” mean “at any time exclusively IN PAST” or could be “…in the future”?

Do AmEng speakers sometimes say “Did he ever call you?” to mean the same as “Has he ever called you?”?

For me “ever”, below, means “at any point in a given period of time”.

Does he ever call you?
Has he ever called you?

I’m not sure habit is a clear implication in the present simple example. I’d say it’s more a case of ellipted or implied time adverbials.

Does he ever call you <these days>?
Has he ever called you <before and up to now>?

And what do you think of these examples, Amy?

Ever since the accident, he calls me daily.
Ever since the accident, he’s called me daily.

I might describe the question as meaning this:
“I want to know whether it is a fact that he calls, and also whether his calls are frequent, occasional, rare (or even non-existent).”

I understand “ever” used in present perfect but
“ever” used in the present simple is kinda difficult to understand.

I read Amy and Molly’s explanations but still not sure for the usage.

Could you kindly show me that in what kind of context, you can use one(present perfect)
or cannot use another(present simple)?

Also, Molly wrote “… he’s called me daily” but I don’t think you can use present perfect with the word “daily”.
Aren’t I right?

Hi Hime

There is nothing to prevent you from using “daily” (or any other adverb of frequency) with the present perfect. In Molly’s sentence it simply describes the frequency of his calls from a certain point in the past until now. With no additional context, there isn’t much difference between Molly’s two “Ever since” sentences. However, since the present perfect basically refers only to time up to now, what follows each of Molly’s sentences (i.e. the broader context) may be quite different. The present perfect can easily be used in a situation where the daily phone calls end today. Since Molly didn’t bother to add any context to his two “ever since the accident” sentences, I’ll try to add context for you so that you will hopefully be able to sense the difference:

Ever since the accident, he calls me daily just to chat and to make sure I’m OK. Before the accident he hardly ever called, so I guess he worries about me a lot more now than he used to. I keep telling him that he really doesn’t need to call quite so often, but he calls every day anyway. To be honest, though, I really do look forward to his calls and would probably worry about him if he missed a day.

Ever since the accident, he’s called me daily. For some unknown reason, he seems to think I was responsible for what happened. This morning I told him that I was fed up with his harrassing phone calls, and that if he called again, I would have him arrested.

Obviously, this post deals primarily with the form of the verb used (“he calls” vs “he has called”) in combination with the word “daily”, and it basically has nothing to do with the use of the word “ever”. The meaning and use of the word “ever” is identical in both of Molly’s “ever since the accident” sentences.

“Since” indicates the start of the period, so I think it doesn’t make any difference
b/w the two sentenses Molly made. Present perfect doesn’t indicate it started “before” as long as the starting point
was clearly specified by “since~”. Am I right?

How about using present perfect continuous “He has been calling me since then.”?
Then we will know he continues the daily phone calls even now, won’t we?

Hi Hime

Not necessarily. Both the present perfect and the present perfect continuous refer only to past time. They both refer to time before now or up to now. However, the present perfect continuous often (but definitely not always!) suggests a possible continuation into the future more strongly than the present perfect simple.

In the context example I gave you with the present perfect simple (in my last post), I could just as easily use the present perfect continuous. The main difference in this case is that the continuous form adds to or stresses the sense of duration.

Ever since the accident, he has been calling me daily. For some unknown reason, he seems to think I was responsible for what happened. This morning I told him that I was fed up with his harrassing phone calls, and that if he called again, I would have him arrested.

I would suggest that you start a new thread if you prefer to discuss verb form rather than the word “ever”.

Hm, interesting to compare you comment there with your attitude to my additional context in the “Is it walkable?” discussion.

Can you tell us why we can’t use “he’s called me daily” in that example?

No, they both refer to an unspecified time before the Now of the moment of speaking and to the Now of the moment of speaking. They are retrospective forms - looking at the past from the point Now. If, as you claim, they only refer to past time, why are they called present aspects/tenses?

How about:

Dave (walking into the office) Any calls?

Sarah: Dave’s been calling you.

Do you think it is clear that the present perfect means “before now” there?

daily = each day or every day

So “(Ever) since the accident he has called me daily” means “Since the accident he has called me each day.”

The difference between “he calls me daily” and “he has called me daily” is this:

“he calls me daily” implies an expectation that the caller will continue to call: by saying “he calls me daily”, the callee (lol) has come to expect the call each day and would likely bet that those calls will continue.

“he has called me daily” is so very slightly different here: the caller has called each day up to this point, but the callee (cheers, once again) is not quite as confident that the calls are a given. It’s as if there’s the threat of a “but” lurking – “he has called me daily but I don’t know if his schedule will allow him to continue wasting his money on my draconian lectures.”


It’s subtle but the first case shows a more certain expectation of like behavior in the future, IMO.

On its face, of course, there’s nothing wrong with “he’s called me daily”.

That’s a lot of interpretation from a widened context.

Apply your explanation of “He’s called me daily” to this:

Because of the accident, he’s called me daily.

If two women were fighting over a guy (or woman, whatever floats your boat in this anecdote), these two rivals might bare their teeth in the following fashion:

Woman A: He’s called me daily.
Woman B: Oh yeah?! Well he CALLS me daily, which means you can bet your @ss he’ll continue to do so.

Again, it is a verrrry subtle difference. Woman B sounds just a bit more sure that the calls will continue.

Molly, it’s the same thing: “he calls me daily” emits a greater feeling that those calls will continue. “He’s called me daily” isn’t wrong… it’s just very slightly different.

If it’s any consolation, both phrases would likely make the listener think that the callee expects the calls to continue.

Clutching at straws there, I’d say Prez. :wink:

How about:

Because of the accident, he calls me daily.
Because of the accident, he’s called me daily.

Both resultative uses. The speaker wants to express “as a result, he calls/has called daily”.

That’s because the present perfect is an “up to Now” tense/aspect.

No, I rather want talk about “ever” here than starting new thread for verb form.

I think Amy is right, present perfect reffers only past relating to NOW,
so it should be read “Since the accident, he has started calling me daily.”
In this case, we will know the calling continues.
But “He has called me daily.” does not indicat any future activity.

I’ve learned that simple present/present perfect continuous imply more possibility for future activities
than present perfect here.