A very interesting question, which looks like it was asked by a native speaker, got migrated to English Language learners:

The question asks whether the word ever is modifying the verb be or the word first in the sentence:

  • It was my first game ever.

It is difficult to tell why this grammar question got moved to ELL. In any case, at least one of the migrates said in a comment that ever was a modifier in the verb phrase was my first game ever. However, the OP would be right to find such a claim problematic because we cannot say:

  • It was ever my first game

Or, rather, we can, but the meaning is completely different. Compare that with.

  • I wasn't sad ever.
  • I wasn't ever sad.

Here we can move the ever around from end to mid position.

There are numerous other interesting quirks and problems here.

Just because the sentence is short and easy to understand does not mean the grammar is simple. This is a question worthy of the interest of linguists and serious language enthusiasts. Please can we get it back before it slips down the questions list and loses all its momentum.

  • 2
    What’s wrong in giving a full and appropriate answer on ELL?
    – user 66974
    Mar 20, 2023 at 13:33
  • 3
    @user66974 There’s nothing wrong with people giving complete answers on ELL. However, native speakers will be disgruntled to find their serious syntax questions moved there. There’s a lot wrong with denying serious EL&U readers serious and interesting grammar questions. We don’t get enough as it is. Mar 20, 2023 at 13:58
  • 3
    @user66974 In addition to what OP said, the question will probably get better answers on ELU and people on ELU will probably appreciate those answers more. (Discussions of things like "negative polarity triggers" may be a bit advanced for many English learners.) Mar 20, 2023 at 21:09
  • 3
    Why is it a serious question to ask what something modifies? Does everything have to be a modifier? Who says and why is it "serious"? Mar 24, 2023 at 13:21
  • 1
    @JohnLawler I think you're reading too much into 'serious', which here merely means not flippant or trivial. Anyhow, 'modifier/adjunct/adverbial' or whatever ones predilection happens to be is a grammatical relations label which contrasts with categories such as complement or head, and so clearly not everything is a modifier. What word or phrase an item is modifying often tells you which constituent it is part of, which is of course of interest to syntacticians. And whether something is a complement or an adjunct affects all sorts of other things (consider "do so" etc). Mar 24, 2023 at 15:09
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    @JohnLawler NB I haven't said that ever is a modifier here (and haven't given it much thought). Mar 24, 2023 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


We can't "get a question back" once it's gone. The receiving site can reject it; in that case, that site gets the stub and we would get a closed question because we've indicated it's unsuitable for ELU. If the rejection happens, it's an ordinary closed question and can be reopened by vote.

But it does appear it's possible to vote to re-open it on this site despite the migration, by visiting the ELU stub at What does 'ever' modify? The way SE works makes getting at the original deliberately difficult, but it can be found.

I have no idea what reopening a migrated question does to the migration history — especially if the ELL version is rejected. It might be fine; it might take some sorting out.

  • 2
    The ELU question is locked due to the migration (see timeline), so only moderators can interact with it unless something else is done, such as closing the ELL question (locks the ELL Q&A; does not reopen the ELU question automatically) or clearing migration history on ELU (creates a cross post). I'm hesitant to close the question on ELL myself since there's now an answer and some votes.
    – Laurel Mod
    Mar 22, 2023 at 13:06
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    The question could be asked again here, possibly in a more informed way.
    – user 66974
    Mar 23, 2023 at 9:47
  • 1
    Why bother? If you have a theory, just put it there. Are we that desperate for questions? Mar 24, 2023 at 13:23

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