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Pop Question

30 Oct 2022 — Why ever


What does "ever" mean in this context?



People conversing in a room

Why ever are you voting for that candidate?


Read all of the options for background information.


Why ever (as usual) are you voting for that candidate?


Why ever (clarify, explain) are you voting for that candidate?


Why ever (shock) are you voting for that candidate?


Why ever (disapproval) are you voting for that candidate.



  • emotive modifiers – in grammar, modifying words that come after a question word and which express the speaker's surprise or inability to explain the situation stated in the clause: What ever, What the hell/ heck/ blazes/ dickens, Who else/ on earth, What exactly/ precisely, What in tarnation (damnation), WTF… are they here for? (Huddleston 10 §7.13)
  • whoever (pronoun) – any person; an unknown person; it doesn't matter who; Whoever calls, tell them I am out.; wh-ever words — whoever, whatever, however, whenever — head a modifying clause with ever expressing "any" or "It doesn't matter who, what, when, where or how;
  • who ever (pronoun + adv) – a question pronoun (who, what, when, why, how, where) is followed by ever to express and emphasize being surprised or amazed (positively or negatively).
  • why ever (pronoun + adv) – Why ever would this happen? What reason would/could there be for this to happen? (Whyever is not a word; it doesn't exist in the dictionary.)