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How to use Even

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When a statement needs to be made stronger it is often followed by an example with 'even'. 'Even' adds surprise or shock, or excitement to the example.

He could be anything he wanted. He could even become the chairman of a corporation.
She loses everything. She's even lost her credit cards more than once.
I've seen all his films, even the ones that didn't do so well.

Even though – even when – even if

'Even' can be used with 'though', 'when' and 'if'. In this situation there is an emphasis on an unexpected result. Here are a few examples of how these expressions are used and their different functions:

Even though Peter worked hard, he still didn't get the promotion. (Peter worked hard but the expected promotion was not given to him.)

Even when James tried to be friendly to his employees, he still came across as arrogant. (Sometimes James tried to be friendly but it made no difference because his employees still thought he was arrogant.)

Even if you had started out earlier, you would still have got caught in the storm. (You started out late but if you had left earlier you would still have been caught in the storm.)

Tess is never happy. Even though you do as she says. (You do everything Tess wants but it makes no difference. She is still unhappy.)

It is very cold here. Even when it’s sunny, it's still quite chilly. (Sometimes it's sunny but it is still cold.)

Don't expect Chris to help you. Even if he promises he will, he never does. (It is rare that Chris offers his help but although he promises to help, he never helps.)

These expressions are not interchangeable. The context and the meaning you intend will affect your use of these expressions.

Even so

'Even so' is used the same way as 'but' or 'however'. 'Even so' is different in as much as it is used with surprising or unexpected results.

David is abrupt and sometimes rude. Even so, I like him. (David has an unpleasant character so it is unexpected that I like him.)

Alex was really busy. Even so, he still helped me. (Alex was busy so it was unexpected that he helped me.)

Chinese is a difficult language to master. Even so, Jack was able to communicate fairly well after two months studying it. (Chinese is a difficult language so it was surprising that Jack learnt it quickly.)

Lesson by Tristan, teacher at EC Malta English school

Using these examples, complete the following using the appropriate phrase:

  • 1. _ it is bad weather, people still go for walks along the promenade.

  • 2. The director has his own cult following. _ the film gets poor reviews, his fans will still go to see it.

  • 3. These days you can do everything on-line. You can _ shop at a supermarket and get your shopping delivered.

  • 4. _ people were warned about the e-mail scam, they still fell for it.

  • 5. He is a whizz with computers. _, he’ll find it hard to get a good job.

  • 6. _ we advise David to go to university, he will ignore us and do what he wants.

  • 7. Mark is amazing. He can speak four languages but that’s not enough, now he _ wants to learn Mandarin.

  • 8. _ our professors were hard on us and expected a hundred percent, I enjoyed my time there tremendously.

  • 9. Paul is always optimistic. _ things go bad for him, he never has a negative outlook.

  • 10. The house we saw for sale is amazing. It _ has a swimming pool.