Unit 105. Even

Study this example:

Our football team lost yesterday. We all played badly. Bill is our best player, but yesterday even Bill played badly.

We use even to say that something is unusual or surprising. We say even Bill… because he is a good player and it is unusual for him to play badly. If he played badly, it must have been a bad day for the team.

  • These photographs aren’t very good. Even I could take better photographs than these. (I’m certainly not a good photographer, so they must be bad.)

  • It’s a very rich country. Even the poorest people own cars, (so the rich people must be very rich)

  • She always wears a coat – even in summer.

  • Nobody would lend him the money – not even his best friend, (or Even his best friend wouldn’t lend him the money.)

    Very often we use even with the verb in the middle of a sentence (see Unit 102b for the exact position):

  • Don has traveled all over the world. He has even been to the Antarctic. (It’s very unusual to go to the Antarctic, so he must have traveled a lot.)

  • He always wears a tie. He even wears a tie in bed!

  • They are very rich. They even have their own private jet.

    Here are some examples with not even:

  • I can’t cook. I can’t even boil an egg. (so I certainly can’t cook, because boiling an egg is very simple)

  • They weren’t very friendly to us. They didn’t even say hello.

  • She’s in good shape. She’s just run five miles and she’s not even out of breath.

    You can use even with comparatives (hotter / more surprised, etc.):

  • It was very hot yesterday, but today it’s even hotter.

  • I got up at 6:00, but Carol got up even earlier.

  • I knew I didn’t have much money, but I’ve got even less than I thought.

  • I was surprised to get a letter from her. I was even more surprised when she appeared at my door the next day.

    You can use even with if, when, and though:

  • I’ll probably see you tomorrow. But even if I don’t, we’re sure to see each other before the weekend.

  • She never shouts, even when she’s angry, (you expect people to shout when they are angry)

  • He has bought a car, even though he can’t drive.
    For if and when see Unit 9c. For even though see Unit 104.
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