Even, even if, even though, & even when

Many students have trouble with the word “even.”  Here is how it should be used.

Even in the positive means “do the most surprising thing of.”
It goes after the verb “be” but before any other single verb.  It goes between two verbs.

• He’s very talented, isn’t he?  Did you know he even writes his own music?
• His daughter is even willing to move in and take care of him.
• He even has a signed portrait of the President.
• She can even stand on her head.

Even in the negative means “do the minimum thing of.“

• My grandfather can’t even put on his own socks anymore.
• They won’t even answer my phone calls.
• She couldn’t even look me in the eyes when she told me.
• Do you remember when you wouldn’t even jump off the low diving board?

Even also goes before a noun and means “also the surprising thing of” in the positive.

• Everything was red, even the icing on the cake.
• Even the president of the company was there to congratulate him.
• She brought everything with her, even her cat.
• That box isn’t so heavy.  Even my grandmother could lift it.

Even in the negative before a noun means “the expected thing of.”

• Not even his own mother believed he was innocent.
• He never got sick, not even a cold.
• Not even the army could prevent the flood waters from entering the town.
• Our sailboat couldn’t move.  There wasn’t even a mild wind.

Even if is used when a condition makes no difference in a decision.  The condition that follows even if sounds like it would make the person change his mind, but it doesn’t.

 Even if the thief were my brother, I would still call the police.
(I would call the police no matter who the thief was.)

• I don’t want to go for a bike ride even if it stops raining and the sun comes out.
(It doesn’t matter what the weather is like, I don’t want to go for a bike ride.)

• They want to go to Las Vegas even if they have to put it on a credit card.
(It doesn’t matter how they are going to pay for it, they want to go to Las Vegas.)

 Even if we apply today, our passports won’t come in time for her wedding.
(It doesn’t matter if we apply today, our passports won’t come in time for her wedding.)

Even though is used before a fact that would seem to make a result harder to.

 Even though he was short  and stout, all the women seemed to like him.
• She passed the exam even though she hadn’t had much time to study.
 Even though snow covered the ground, it wasn’t a very cold day.
• My grandfather is in great physical shape even though he’s close to ninety years old.

Even when is used before a time that would seem to make something not true, but it’s still true.

 Even when he was a boy, he was taller than anyone else his age.
(He’s been taller than others all his life, even as a boy.)

• She wears the earrings he gave her even when she is sleeping.
(Not even sleeping would make her take the earrings off.)

 Even when I stay up late, I’m not tired the following day.
(Not even staying up late makes me tired the following day.)

• She never stops talking even when she’s eating.
(Not even eating makes her stop talking.)

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© 2013 Ambien Malecot


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