Community Web Version Now Available
XiaoDeng
never really He tilted his head toward a bust that sat high on a shelf against the far wall of his office. I had never really noticed it before. Is 'really' used to emphasize the fact that I never noticed the bust before? When 'never' and 'really' go together, it seems to be a little off for me. Can you show me another example sentence used with 'never really'?
Sep 21, 2019 1:24 PM
6
0
Answers · 6
Gdanning gave a great answer. "I never really noticed" doesn't mean that you never noticed at all, but it means you never paid very much attention (you only "sort of" noticed). Another way to think about "really" after a negation ("not really," "can't really," "wouldn't really," etc.) is to say that the word "really" makes the negative statement softer. "I don't want to go to your party" sounds rude; you would probably say this to someone you dislike. "I don't really want to go to your party" is much more gentle. It still means that you don't want to go to the party, but the word "really" makes the negative statement less strong. English speakers use this construction a LOT in order to avoid making strong negative claims. Statements such as "I don't like [X]" can sound very harsh, especially if [X] is something the other person likes ("I don't like the movie you showed me," "I don't like the restaurant you've suggested," etc.). It's more polite to say that you don't "really" like something. The meaning is essentially, "I don't have a strong liking for it" or "It's not something I strongly prefer."
September 21, 2019
In decreasing order of closeness: Our wives really like each other. (They get along very well. They are close or are capable of becoming close) Our wives like each other (somewhat) Our wives (have) never really liked each other. (They aren’t close. Maybe they’ve made efforts to get along.) Our wives don’t like each other.
September 21, 2019
Thanks, Gdanning, very helpful answer.
September 22, 2019
It is very common. Eg: "I never really thought about it before." The key is that it is NOT "I (never really) noticed." It is "I never (really noticed)." In other words, I was sort of aware that it was there, but I did not take notice of it -- I never realized it might be important, never looked at it closely, etc. The same with "never really thought about it." If all my life I called my friend "shorty," he might one day say it hurts his feelings. I might say, I'm sorry; it has become a habit, so I kept doing it without thinki g about whether it was right or wrong. I never really thought about it,"
September 21, 2019
XiaoDeng
Language Skills
Chinese (Other), English
Learning Language
English