Confusing English Words: How to Use the Word Even

Read below to see the written article about how to use the word EVEN

Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and learn about even with this  5 minute (or maybe a little more) English lesson.

How to Use the Word EVEN

Throughout the English language there are many words that tend to pop up (appear surprisingly) all the time and can be very confusing for learners.

A lot of these words can appear very simple, but you often see them used in a situation that has nothing to do with the original meaning. We have discussed some of these words before in other articles like, How to use the word Go, and How to use the word get.

In this article we are going to focus on a word that tends to surprise all of my students when I explain to them all the ways we use it, and that word is EVEN!

Sure, it sounds pretty simple right? But let’s see if I can surprise you with all the ways the word EVEN is used in English.

1. Even to show something surprising or unexpected

Even is used to describe something as being unexpected in a certain situation. When it is related to a person it is generally saying that the person doesn’t usually like or participate in that activity. For example:

  • funkykingstonEveryone is going to go the party, even Bob. (Bob doesn’t usually go to parties)
  • Nobody has paid me for the work I did, not even Rita. (negative form, Rita usually pays quickly)

The same thing is also applicable for objects but it usually shows that it is something unusual or unlikely to happen. For example:

  • The thieves stole everything from my car, even the manual. (it’s strange to steal a manual)
  • When I dropped my bag everything broke, even my pencil case (unusual to break a pencil case)

Even can also be used this way in the middle of a phrase before a verb.  This is to give a sense of an unexpected situation. For example:

  • I can’t find my keys, I even looked under the couch.
  • He has travelled all around the world, he has even been to Fiji.

2. Even to emphasize a comparative

Another common way we use the word even is when we are giving even more emphasis to a comparative adjective. Here we always put the even before the adjective. For example:

  • That guy is even taller than Justin. (Justin is really tall)
  • Rio de Janeiro is even more expensive than New York. (New York is expensive)
  • Jazz music is good but reggae is even better. (better = comparative of good)
  • Brazil is a hot country but Australia is even hotter.

When using even with an adjective in the negative form, we don’t use a comparative adjective. This way we use it in a negative form is more like the first example of even.

  • Why are you wearing a jacket, it’s not even cold.
  • Why are you in a hurry, we’re not even late.

3. How to use Even though / Even if

Even though

We use even though to show a contrast of two ideas and it is used for real situations. This is generally to explain that you are making an exception or that you unexpectedly like or do something. For example:

  • Even though I don’t like country music, this song is really cool.marley-and-jagger
  • Even though it’s raining, I’m going to go for a run.

We can also use even though in the middle of the phrase.

  • He’s really punctual, even though he’s lazy.
  • She’s not a mum, even though she loves children.

Even if

Even if is always used in a conditional conjugating, which you can learn more about in this Real Life English video lesson. Just like even though, we use even if to show a contrast if ideas, but in a hypothetical situation. For example:

  • Even if I liked country music, I wouldn’t go to the show. (hypothetical, I don’t like country music)
  • Even if I had a car, I wouldn’t drive to work because of all the traffic. (I don’t have a car)

And again, we can use it in the middle of the phrase.

  • I’m going to go for a run this afternoon, even if it’s raining. (it might not be raining)
  • She is going to travel this holiday, even if she doesn’t have any money.

4. Even meaning fair or balanced

You will hear the word even a lot in sport to say that both teams, or players, have the same score.

  • Barcelona has just scored another goal and now the game is even, 1 to 1. (used as an adjective)
  • Ronaldinho just kicked a goal and evened the game. (used as a verb)
  • This is going to be a great game because the teams are very even. (both teams have equally good players)

5. Even numbers 

And last but not least (still important), even numbers are all numbers that are multipliable by two. For example:

  • 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, … (even numbers)
  • 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, … (odd numbers)

So, as you can see, even is a very versatile word in English and knowing how to use it in all these different ways can add a lot to your vocabulary.

Be part of Real Life English and connect to the world

If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about confusing words in English, or many of the other subject we write about, sign up to the Real Life English newsletter where you’ll be informed once a week of all our newest articles and videos.

Another way to stay in touch with us, and the world, is by joining the Real Life English facebook community, where you can interact with people from all around the world, practice your English and learn firsthand about all of these foreign cultures.

  • Chad Fishwick says:

    Thanks Carolina!!

  • Chad Fishwick says:

    Thanks Carolina!!

  • Chad Fishwick says:

    Thanks Carolina!!

  • Chad Fishwick says:

    Thanks Carolina!!

  • Chad Fishwick says:

    Thanks Carolina!!

  • Chad Fishwick says:

    Thanks Carolina!!

  • Chad Fishwick says:

    Thanks Carolina!!

  • Chad Fishwick says:

    Thanks Carolina!!

  • Chad Fishwick says:

    Thanks Carolina!!

  • Chad Fishwick says:

    Thanks Carolina!!

  • Ethan Zinho says:

    Awesome article Chad! You explained this so clearly and thoroughly. Definitely using this as a resource with my students. It's not even confusing!

  • Awesome video please keep it up Chad!

  • Aline says:

    This is exactly we, English learners need! Nice video with simply and written explanation!

  • Kalani Mondoy says:

    Wow, very detailed. Awesome! Speaking English is one thing. Whenever people ask me why is a particular word used one way and then in another way, it's very hard to explain what it means, and sometimes giving examples of how that specific word is used. But this was perfect!

  • Bimal Rathnagoda says:

    Excellent program…

  • Bimal Rathnagoda says:


  • to get even means: often+with, for example
    if you get even with someone who has done something bad to you, you do something bad to them
    If you get even with people who are from THE USA you'll improve your accent even your english.

  • John D says:

    I appreciate the opportunity given to enhance my English language skills, even though I can’t schedule time now. Thanks