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Hello! This week on Ask a Teacher, we will answer a question from Ester, a reader, about the uses of “even.”

Question:

Could you please tell me how to use “even?”

Ester

Answer:

Dear Ester,

Thank you for your question.

There are several ways to use the word “even” in American English.

Even as an adjective

We will start with the use of “even” as an adjective to describe nouns.

One use of “even” as an adjective can mean smooth or not rough.

The table has an even surface that is good for table tennis.

Here, the top of the table is smooth. It is not rough.

World Tennis Table Championship
World Tennis Table Championship

We can use “even” as an adjective to describe something as normal or regular. For example:

The doctor listened to her patient’s even heartbeat.

Dr. Viktoria Mahnych, wearing face mask against coronavirus, checks on a COVID-19 patient with a stethoscope at at his home in Iltsi village, Ivano-Frankivsk region of Western Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021
Dr. Viktoria Mahnych, wearing face mask against coronavirus, checks on a COVID-19 patient with a stethoscope at at his home in Iltsi village, Ivano-Frankivsk region of Western Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021

This statement means that the patient’s heart was beating at a regular speed.

Our last example of “even” as an adjective can be seen in the example below, meaning equal or balanced.

I cut the cake into eight even pieces.

In this final adjective example, the cake is divided into eight equal parts.

Even as an adverb

“Even” can also be used as an adverb to mean that the information is surprising in either a good way or a bad way. Compare these examples:

I did not even know that she was arriving this weekend!

He even bought me flowers on our first date.

Both examples show surprise or disbelief to something that was earlier not thought possible.

Even with other adverbs or adjectives

And finally, we can use “even” with other adjectives and adverbs to make a statement stronger.

This summer could be even hotter because of climate change.

In this sentence “even” is a comparative adverb making hotter have a more intense meaning.

Please let us know if these examples have helped you, Ester!

What question do you have about American English? Send us an email at learningenglish@voanews.com

And that’s Ask a Teacher.

I’m Faith Pirlo.

Faith Pirlo wrote this lesson for VOA Learning English.

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Words in This Story

table tennis n. a game in which two or four people hit a small ball over a low net on a large table

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