Ever Since and Every Sense of the Word

By Maeve Maddox

Many misspellings are the result of mispronunciation. The first time I saw the expression “ever since” written as “ever sense,” I assumed that it had been written by the speaker of a regional dialect. For example, where I live, it’s often impossible to tell if someone is asking to borrow a pen or a pin.

Since is an adverb. The expression “ever since” means, “from that time until now.” For example, “He was elected in 1983 and has served in the Senate ever since.”

Sense is used as both noun and verb:

The sense of sight is perhaps the most treasured of the five senses. (noun)
Do you sense the excitement in the room? (verb)

When I started searching the Web for examples of the “ever sense” error, I was surprised to find them all over the map. Of course, there’s no way to tell if a writer grew up in the American South, but I did find examples of sense for since on sites originating outside the South–in Utah, Michigan, and even in the United Kingdom. And not just on blogs or in forums, but on professional sites as well.

Here are some of my gleanings:

Ever sense the update, my iPhone 4S will randomly shut off at least once a day.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that this was the only bad thing [he’s] ever done in his life and he’s behaved perfectly ever sense.

Ever sense the Maryland Senate elections, I’ve wondered…

He started mock elections in Payson and has been doing it ever sense.

They have been talking about term limits ever sense term limits was made [a] word about 100 years ago.

The resultant settlement has commanded broad consensual support ever sense.

This example from a site offering research papers for sale uses the word since correctly in the same sentence as the error:

….has been present since the 1950s and has only been growing ever sense.

In the course of tracking this misuse of sense in the expression “ever since,” I encountered numerous examples of the misuse of ever in the idiom “in every sense of the word.”

In “every sense of the word,” every is an adjective describing the noun sense. “In every sense of the word” means “in all the ways this word may be defined.”

Ever is an adverb. The phrase “ever sense of the word” is meaningless, but that doesn’t stop it from being widely used:

A real Palace in ever sense of the word

Excellent in ever sense of the word!

[The game] Ihan Crystal is flawed, in ever sense of the word.

2012 was a disaster in ever sense of the word.

I mean big in ever sense of the word you can come up with.

I am an optimist in ever sense of the word.

Like the Elephant’s Child, I’m a little warm (in every sense of the word), but not at all astonished.

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6 Responses to “Ever Since and Every Sense of the Word”

  • James

    I haven’t come across “ever sense”. I have, however, seen the word “since” used where “sense” should have been. I see the sentence, “That doesn’t make any since” quite frequently in my job. I correspond with people from all over the country, but I want to say I see it most from folks in the Upper Midwest.

    As a native Southerner, I can definitely see where the pronunciation of “since” and “sense” might lead to spelling confusion. Depending where you are, both words could be pronounced “SEE-ince”.

  • thebluebird11

    That is just wrong, wrong, wrong. Painfully wrong.
    I know what you mean about the pin/pen thing. I remember moving from NY to FL and someone mentioned tinting my house. I was like…what? After several tries, I realized they meant “tenting,” as in for termites.
    Mixing up since/sense? Sorry, no. Ignorance is the only reason for that, and it’s no excuse. But it again proves that you can’t trust your spellchecker.

  • venqax

    Yet another of the many, many reasons we need to revive “thenceforth” as an everyday word! Of course, some will start saying “thinceforth…”

    “….has been present since the 1950s and has only been growing thenceforth.

    Thenceforth the Maryland Senate elections, I’ve wondered…”

  • venqax

    Of course, now that I look carefully, the second would be fine with just “Since the Maryland Senate…” The “ever” is not necessary at all.

    Still, I’m using thenceforth henceforth. Heretofore I haven’t.

  • Craig Beard

    Unless I overlooked it in the post or in the comments, I’ve heard another misuse variation: “every since” as in “Every since I heard that song, it’s been playing in my head.”

  • Darragh McCurragh

    “… result of mispronunciation …” Well, err, no: there is no such thing as pronunciation, linguistically. Written words are the secondary coding system, oral language the first. So there are, strictly speaking, only transliterations. And that these transliterations break down is, in the US largely, by virtue of what Richard Bandler calls “pohonics”, the “phonetics” training in special education that hapless children are subjected to. Good spellers visualize, they don’t use phonetics. Scrap that special education, help people visualize and, most of all, get them to read more and spelling errors will vanish.

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