AmE I should have never done it = BrE I should never have done itNo, I've not/I haven't discussed it, but John Algeo has in his book British or American English?
- I don't think you've discussed this one, have you?
Adverbs of frequency (generally, never, usually), like those of probability, tend to occur in medial position, after the first auxiliary, if there is one. However, with these also American has a higher tolerance for placement before the first auxiliary than does British: She usually is at work from nine to five versus She is usually at work from nine to five.Concise response!
I'd feel a bit bad about such a short post, though, so here's another never fact. Algeo lists a "distinctively British" sense of never: 'not by any means'. He gives an example from a David Lodge novel (I hear the protagonist of the latest is a linguist...): "You're never Vic Wilcox's shadow?"
A little snooping on the internet brings up an abstract for a 2008 paper by David Willis (or by Anne Breitbarth, Christopher Lucas and David Willis) that comments a bit more on this:
There are a number of contexts in Present-Day English where never marks sentential negation rather than negation quantified over time:
(1) I never stole your wallet this morning.
(2) a. You’re never her mother. b. That’s never a penalty.
In (1), unavailable in standard English but widespread in nonstandard varieties of British English, never conveys pure, but emphatic, negation in the past. In (2), possible even for many speakers who reject (1), it conveys a pragmatic meaning beyond pure negation: (2a) can be paraphrased as ‘There is no reasoning by which I can reach the conclusion that you are her mother.’ (quantification over reasons rather than time). In such cases, an inference of surprise, as in (2a), or disbelief, as in (2b), may be made.
We've already looked at special BrE use of never mind, so click the link to see more on that.
So there you go. A post with no self-revelatory anecdotes or gratuitous pictures of baby and with perhaps the lowest proportion of my own words ever! I always tell my students that if they quote their sources rather than paraphrasing in their own words (and citing the source, of course!), then they've missed out on the opportunity to demonstrate to me that they actually understood what they quoted. Oh well/never mind, I hope you'll excuse me from that demonstration--it's time for bed. And I may have fit in an anecdote or self-revelation after all.