The Many Spanish Faces Of the English Word "even"

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The Many Faces of “Even”

The word even turns out to be a fascinating word, being either adverb or preposition. Its various uses and translations into Spanish make it a good and short case study in how two languages create different linguistic maps of reality and even of the mind. Consider these uses:

Sometimes, even is used in the sense of furthermore, with a tone of surprise, in addition or including. When this is the case, the Spanish equivalents are hasta, aun or incluso. The word incluso is somewhat less often used as an adverb; it tends to answer to the prepositional uses of even. Still, all three are interchangeable, but the tone of aun is less severe.

Hasta puede nadar una milla y luego correr dos (He can even swim a mile and then run two). – adverbial; aun could also have been used.

Hasta un niño lo podría hacer (Even a child could do it). – prepositional; aun or incluso could have been used as well.

Todos podrán ir al cine, incluso tú (Everyone will be able to go to the movies, even you). – prepositional; note how incluso means including and is followed by a pronoun or noun.

When English speakers say not even, Spanish has a phrase which bears no resemblance to the previous solutions for evenni siquiera. Sometimes the ni is omitted.

Ni siquiera tenemos un centavo entre los dos (We don’t even have a penny between the two of us).

Ni siquiera le interesa salir con esos muchos para tomar un café (She isn’t even interested in going out with those guys for a cup of coffee).

Then again, sometimes English speakers use even when speaking of numbers divisible by two (as opposed to odd numbers). In this case, even is par and odd is impar. Note that these two words have plural forms, being adjectives (but ending in a consonant, they do not show gender):

Los números pares son divisibles por dos (Even numbers are divisible by two).

Another mathematical use of even refers to exactness. In such cases, Spanish can use justo, exacto or igual:

Vamos a dividir el pastel en pedazos iguales (We’re going to divide the cake into even pieces). Justos could also have been used.

Construyeron las pirámides de modo que los cuatro lados quedaron exactos (They built the pyramids in such a way that the four sides came out even).


  • Based on the author’s more than 20 years experience teaching and translating Spanish

This post is part of the series: Spanish Usage

The articles in this series deal with various questions about the right choice of word or phrase when English may have one or two structures but Spanish has more. They often deal with prepositional issues.

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  3. A Problem Preposition: The Ways “About” is Expressed in Spanish
  4. The Many Spanish Faces of the English Verb “to Agree”
  5. Spanish Usage Questions: Ways to say “Again”
  6. Expressing the Many Meanings of After
  7. Spanish Usage Questions: How to Say “Ahead”
  8. Spanish Usage Questions: “Anyone” and “Anybody”
  9. Using “Anyway…” in Spanish
  10. Let’s Learn About How to Talk About Appointments & Dating
  11. What Do You Use for “Around” in Spanish
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  13. Beware of False Cognates! How to Express “Attend,” “Assist,” and “Help”
  14. Are You “Cool” or “Cold”? Explore the Nuances in Spanish
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  16. The Temporal and Spacial Meanings of “Before”: How to Get it Right in Spanish
  17. Don’t Be Left in the Dust! Learn to Express the Meanings of “Behind” in Spanish
  18. Get the Low Down on the Preposition “Below” and Say it Right in Spanish!
  19. Understand Saying “Help” in Spanish
  20. Translating “Beside” & “Besides” into Spanish: Interesting Solutions!
  21. Not all Meanings of “But” Are Equal!
  22. Expressing the Various Meanings of the Preposition “By” in Spanish
  23. What Can the English Word “Can” Mean and How to Get it Right in Spanish
  24. Spanish Usage Questions: “Corner”
  25. The Word “Country” in Spanish
  26. The Various Meanings of “Outweigh” in English and How to Express Them in Spanish
  27. Expressing the Idea of “Ownership” in Spanish
  28. How to Express “Time & Distance” in Spanish
  29. Treat, Try, Attempt, Deal with… In Spanish, You Probably Need “Tratar”
  30. Spanish Usage Questions: “Having Fun”
  31. Even a Word Like “Even” Has Many Counterparts in Spanish
  32. Don’t Go Wrong When You Look for Ways to Express “to fail”
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  35. Discover the Right Spanish Verbs for Taking, Holding, Grabbing… and More
  36. You Have Nothing to Fear Except Not Knowing How to Say “Fear” in Spanish!
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