[Ads-l] Voice-over heard: "Help will come too late...

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri May 26 14:04:32 EDT 2017


Jespersen discusses this use of “never” in his classic paper “Negation in English and Other Languages” (now celebrating its Jespersentennial):

=================
Another way of strengthening the negative is by using some
word meaning 'never' without its temporal signification…

Engl. _never_ also in some connexions comes to mean merely
'not': Kipling L. 109 I never knew it was so chilly [= didn't
know] 1 James S. 6 he knew that for a moment Brown never
moved.

_Never_ in this sense is especially frequent before _the_ with a comparative (as in _nevertheless_), and in the combination
_never a_ 'no', which has become a kind of compound
(adjunct) pronoun, used to a great extent in some
dialects (see EDD.: _never a_), and very frequent in colloquial
English, especially in the phrase _never a word_ [with lots of examples and equivalents in Danish]

_Never_ is also used in surprised exclamations like Di F. 680
Why, it's never Bella!   Shaw M. 203 Why, it's never No.
================
Of course some of these (from Jespersen 1917: 17-18) are now rather archaic.

LH


> On May 26, 2017, at 1:41 PM, Robin Hamilton <robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM> wrote:
> 
> There's "The Wild Rover":
> 
> I've been a wild rover for many a year
> And I spent all me money on whiskey and beer,
> But now I'm returning with gold in great store
> And I never will play the wild rover no more.
> 
>     And it's no, nay, never,
>     No nay never no more,
>     Will I play the wild rover
>     No never no more.
> 
> R.
> 
>> 
>>    On 26 May 2017 at 18:12 Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>> 
>> 
>>    or _never_ at all."
>> 
>>    Is this use of "never," instead of "not," as unexceptional as the use of
>>    _never_ in
>> 
>>    ["You did that!"] "No, I never!"
>> 
>>    --
>>    -Wilson
>>    -----
>>    All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
>>    come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
>>    -Mark Twain
>> 
>>    ------------------------------------------------------------
>>    The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>> 
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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