"I have ever been to New York. "Is this sentence correct?



I'm not a native english speaker. I know this sentence is correct.

Have you ever been to New York? (O) I have never been to New York. (O)

I have ever been to New York. <<<< ??? Is this sentence correct in grammar? or possible? or natural?


Posted 2014-02-18T06:51:24.290

Reputation: 2 369

Something like "I've been to New York once." would sound better. – Damkerng T. – 2014-02-18T07:05:14.133



In short, "ever" cannot be used to make an assertion, but rather to ask a question, or an embedded question (wh-clause).

For instance

He is asking me whether I have ever been to New York.

Have I ever been to New York? I don't think so. I have never been to New York.

The wh-clause "whether I have ever been to New York" cannot be used by itself; it is dependent on another clause.

Also note that we can make a statement with "ever", if it is negative. This is based on the principle that "never" can be regarded as a condensation of "not ever"

I have not ever been to New York.

Finally, structures like "have I ever been ..." are possible, if they express irony or emotive emphasis. For instance, "Boy, have I ever been cheated!"

This could somehow apply to New York.

A: Have you been to New York?

B: Have I ever been to new York! I spent three weeks there just last year and actively explored the city for something like ten hours a day.


Posted 2014-02-18T06:51:24.290

Reputation: 6 114


Sorry for the technical jargon.

The word ever is a negative polarity item (NPI), and can only be used in contexts which license NPIs:

  • negative declarative clauses ("I have not ever been to New York")
  • interrogative clauses ("Have you ever been to New York?")
  • conditional clauses ("If you ever go to New York")

You cannot use NPIs in positive declarative clauses, so *"I have ever been to New York" is not grammatical.

Huddleston & Pullum have a footnote on never and ever at the bottom of page 823:

Never is likely to be preferred over verbal negation when ever immediately follows not or the negative verb; a more natural use of frequency ever is seen in I don't think he ever loses his patience. Ever can be used in juxtaposition to never with emphatic effect; this device is associated primarily with informal conversation, but can be found in other styles too: Any risk of a prime minister abusing this power is effectively eliminated because he can never, ever put a political crony into the job.


Posted 2014-02-18T06:51:24.290

Reputation: 813


The word ever is used to describe at any time.

"Have you ever been to New York?"

Means, at any given point of time, have you (ever) visited the state? This can be answered -

No, I have never been to New York. OR *Yes, I have been to New York [preferably with number of times since it has the word ever]. Even shorter answer is - No, never or Oh yes, thrice.

I have ever been to New York as a response to that question does not sound okay to me.

Maulik V

Posted 2014-02-18T06:51:24.290

Reputation: 66 188


When you try to answer the way the question is put, here, for the question Have you ever been to New York? (O) I have never been to New York. (O) is a negative answer, and right usage.

But, you cannot use "ever" instead of "never" and say "I have ever been to New York." That is not even a possible answer for a positive reply. Nevertheless, you may use, "I have been to New York" , to say that you have gone to New York, or you can mention number of times you have visited and so on


Posted 2014-02-18T06:51:24.290

Reputation: 397