EVEN though EVEN or Odd EVEN = equal EVEN = flat and smooth
There are many valid uses of the root word EVEN. But EVEN (like its pal JUST) has a way of sneaking into sentences a wee bit too often.
Typically, the intention behind adding EVEN is to impart emphasis.
Below, I'll share 3 sentences and provide guidance about when it's appropriate to let EVEN stay and when you should ask EVEN to leave. In each example, imagine the characters are a 16-year-old boy and his father.
"I moved the lawn and even cleaned out the garage! Please let me go to the beach with my friends! "
STAY? If the father has repeatedly been asking his son to clean out the garage, or is bothered by the state of the garage, then yes, emphasis is warranted.
LEAVE? If this is the first time this point is mentioned, hit delete. "I mowed the lawn and cleaned out the garage! " is more direct and appropriate in this case.
"I don't even get off work until 10:30PM. I'll be too tired to take out the trash when I get home."
STAY? If this is the last point the boy is making to strengthen his case, then let EVEN stay.
LEAVE? If this is the only point the boy is making, EVEN isn't necessary. Try instead, "I don't get off work until 10:30. I'll be too tired to take out the trash when I get home."
"The score was tied at 3-3 even, and I scored two of the runs!"
STAY? Nope! Tied = EVEN, so this is a case of unnecessary repetition. Scored and score are similar too.
LEAVE? Yes! Try this instead: "We tied at 3-3, and I scored two of the runs!" See how the meaning is unchanged?
I'm enjoying an e-book right now with well-drawn characters, intriguing world building, and a fresh take on a popular Disney story. However, I can't help but notice there's glaring overuse of EVEN. So this is my advice to writers everywhere: before you hit submit, do a JUST-check and an EVEN-check of your work!
Thank you for reading and sharing my latest spoonful. It's good to be back! If you wish to comment on this or any post, click on the word "Comments" directly below.
Laura F Cooper
For many months, I've wrestled with whether or not to resume A Spoonful of Grammar. But I woke up this morning and decided to JUST DO IT! I hope my faithful readers have been saving up lots of grammar and punctuation questions for me!!
It's A-OK when we tell ourselves to JUST DO IT (cue up the Nike ad for inspiration). But telling others is akin to saying, "My patience is wearing thin. Do it before I blow my top!" If you want to instigate verbal sparring between real people or fictional characters, go ahead and use this phrase.
Now let's discuss just plain JUST.
JUST has a way of sneaking into written and oral sentences. "Just remember to sign your name" is an example where JUST can easily be removed without changing the sentence's meaning. Isn't "Remember to sign your name" more direct?
When is JUST appropriate to use? When something was recently completed or a person or character wants to say they'll be ready soon. Here are two examples:
I just finished waxing the floor. Don't step on it yet!
Just a minute! I'll be downstairs in two shakes of a lamb's tail. (Believe it or not, my mom occasionally used that expression!)
Now for two examples where JUST could easily be dropped:
Do you just want to mull it over before making a final decision?
Will you just quiet down?
Here's my advice to writers everywhere: do a JUST check of your writing, whether it's a story, a paper for school, a speech, or a business presentation. Don't be afraid to give JUST a swift kick if it sneaks in where it doesn't belong.
I hope you enjoyed this spoonful! If you know anyone who would enjoy this or any of my earlier spoonfuls, please feel free to share!
Laura F. Cooper