Saturday, January 4, 2014


By Julie Rahm

Many words in the English language have multiple meanings. Our different uses of the same word make English difficult to learn. As a consequence of context, English has many rules that dictate proper use of a word. Take the word “even”...

When “even” is used as an adjective it means flat, smooth or uniform. Also as an adjective, “even” can mean unbroken or undamaged. As a comparative adjective “even” would be “evener”. And as a superlative adjective “even” would be “evenest”. Although, “evener” and “evenest” may be correct, they are awkward to speak and seldom used.

In mathematics, “even” is equal (number, amount or value), the same, identical, like, alike, similar, comparable or parallel. “Even” could be in the same plane, in the same line or level. Or, “even” could mean tied, drawn, square or balanced! “Even” means exactly equal to a round number, not having any fractions or divisible by two without a remainder!

In sports, “even” usually means equally balanced or equal for each opponent, usually for a score. Are you still with me? However, in casual conversation, “even” is most often used as an intensive.

An intensive is used with comparative adjectives and adverbs. Intensives imply a greater degree or extent. For example, when my husband John fell off the pier (see my column, Pamlico News, December 7, 2011), he was wet but “even” more embarrassed. Intensives can be used to indicate something that is unexpected. For example, John did not “even” consider the possibility of falling in the water. Following the same example, “even” can mean at the same time. “Even” as I watched, John fell in the water! Also, “even” means to a degree that extends fully. “Even” the big splash surprised John as he hit the water. Also as an intensive “even” could be exact or precise. It was “even” as I said John was going to fall in the water.

I would be remiss by not mentioning “even” as an idiom. For examples, keep on an “even” keel. Do not worry about getting “even” with him. And, we hope to break “even”. Had enough of “even”? “Even” though all this is interesting, I must get to the point.

So, I tell you all about the word “even” to tell you this. In successful relationships, there is “evenness”. Whether relationships are personal or business, where there is unevenness there is struggle. And, where there is evenness, success comes with ease. Unevenness primarily stems from wrong thinking and misperception. A common reason for unevenness is lack of consideration for another person or visa versa. Or, you may think you’re better than someone, or they’re better than you are. At work, although a management hierarchy is modeled, evenness can be alive and well. When all involved have consideration for each other, feel strongly in their roles, and eliminate jealousy, the “evenness” in the environment produces self-motivation. No books, tapes or talks are required!

If your family or organization struggles with unevenness, contact me for solutions through

No comments:

Post a Comment

Top curve