Difference Between Always and Forever (With Table)

Always and forever are two adverbs in the English language that have very similar meanings. There is some nuanced difference between both the words. They cannot be used as synonyms. They are used in different contexts, and the context highlights their differences.

Always vs Forever

The main difference between always and forever is that always means at all times, but forever means for eternity. Always refers to a finite or fixed period of time that is measurable. Forever refers to all time, that which is endless and infinite, and cannot be measured.

Always is an adverb that is more like a fact, something that the person says will repeatedly happen, continuously. There will be no exceptions. It refers to a finite period of time, usually a person’s lifetime. When someone says, ‘I will always remember this’, it means they will remember it till they die.

Forever denotes an infinite, interminable period of time. It represents a never ending thing, till the end of time itself. Forever can be used both as an adverb and an adjective. As an adverb, it refers to something that is endless, non-stop. As an adjective, it describes a thing’s permanence.

Comparison Table Between Always and Forever

Parameters of ComparisonAlwaysForever
Essential differenceIt refers to a finite period of time.It refers to something infinite, never ending with no time constraint.
Part of SpeechIt is used as an adverb.It can be used as an adjective or adverb.
Short/Long TimeAlways will refer to a shorter time than forever.Forever refers to the longest time period.
Context UsedAlways could mean as a last resort/ at any rate.Forever will not mean at any rate/ as a last resort.
Example‘I will always love you’ means I will love you till the moment I die.‘I will love you forever’ refers to undying love that will not end even after I die.

What is Always?

Always is an adverb, used to denote something that will last at all finite times. It has different meanings depending on it’s context. When it means ‘at all times’ or ‘on all occasions’, an example of a sentence would be;

She always wakes up early.

It means that the speaker believes she wakes up early no matter what, and will continue to do so. She repeats the action of waking up early everyday, without making exceptions. When the word always refers to the future, something that will happen for future times, an example of it would be;

I’ll always take care of you.

It means the speaker is making a sort of promise to the other person that they will take care of them until they are alive. Despite any obstacle, and in every situation, they will take care of this person. Another meaning of always is using it as a last resort. An example of this would be;

If you don’t make it to the team, you could always become a coach.

This means if the person fails to succeed in making it to the team, they still have the last option of becoming a coach.

What is Forever?

Forever can be used as an adverb or an adjective. As an adverb, its job is to describe the action that is happening. It denotes that something is endless, never ending, and will stand the test of time. A good example of this in a sentence would be;

Your memory will live on forever in our hearts.

This sentence denotes that the memory of that person will live forever, after his death, even after all those who knew him die, he will still live on. His memory will live for eternity, by all means. When the word forever refers to something at all times, an example of this would be;

We will be enemies forever.

In this context, the meaning is most similar to the word always. It means they will be enemies no matter what, despite any situation, and maybe even after death. As an adjective, forever refers to something that is permanent. An example of this would be;

This is a kind of forever love.

In this context, forever describes the love that they have, saying that it will last forever. Love is a noun here, and forever is the adjective.

Main Differences Between Always and Forever

  1. Always refers to a finite period of time, whereas forever refers to an infinite period of time.
  2. Always can be used only as an adverb. Forever, on the other hand, can be used as an adverb and an adjective,
  3. Always is usually used to refer to time till the person’s death. Forever denotes time after that, immeasurable time that is not foreseeable.
  4. The word always refers to something that is repeatedly done, but forever refers to something that is everlasting.
  5. The word always can be used to refer to something as a last resort, but forever cannot be used like that. Forever is a binding word.
  6. Always can refer to a short period of time, or a long period of time. Forever can only refer to a very long period of time.

Conclusion

Always and Forever are two words that are often used interchangeably, but they should not, except in a few situations. They are not synonyms. Always refers to something that keeps happening all the time, continuously and repeatedly. Forever refers to something that is constant. It is always there, it does not happen repeatedly.

The context in which these words are used are also very important. As explained above, different contexts bring out different meanings in the same word. While using them, one should mind the context for the sentence to be grammatically correct. It is also important for the speaker to get their exact feelings across, which is where context plays an extremely important role.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2510936/
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3296917?casa_token=1IjOuB408akAAAAA:qSrJDm3dwqjqYR63f1fzh2gyctVsyi2pObZP2CnpEKsuNO9ZJfAlAY_LvnSfmjcjhPOpRT5kY53s8n9jAE5fnV0YTKxcpQllk_5zpDu2sPWcu5Tk_es