Photo by George Hodan
Ask Scott Dreyer
This question comes from our online student Bob in scenic Hangzhou, China, which is known as one of the most beautiful places in China. I'd like to dedicate this post to him.
Q: How can I use the words EVEN, HAPPEN and KNOWLEDGE?
A: Thanks for that great question, Bob! My answer is below.
EVEN: As is common in English, this word has MANY meanings and uses, so it has MANY Chinese translations, depending on how you want to use it.
1. EVEN numbers can be divided by 2, so 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 etc. are all EVEN NUMBERS. (In contrast, ODD numbers are 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, etc. Bonus information: ODD can also mean "strange.")
The gym teacher made us all count off by ones, and the even-numbered students were Team A and the odd-numbered students were Team B for the basketball game.
2. It can mean SMOOTH or FLAT.
Look for a smooth, even spot to put your tent. Otherwise, you might wake up with a backache if you are sleeping on a rock!
I love the Christmas Carol based on a true man in history, Good King Wenceslas. The first line is: Good King Wenceslas looked out, On the Feast of Stephen, When the snow lay round about, Deep and crisp and even.
3. It can mean FAIR or EQUAL.
Mom gave each child an even amount of ice cream.
Many English idioms rhyme, and "even Steven" means "fair or equal."
The boy decided to divide the cookies even Steven so no one would get mad or jealous.
All the students like Mr. Flanagan. He is fair and evenhanded with all his students.
Many times EVEN has a "word buddy," that is, another word it often goes with, and together the two words add emphasis or surprise.
4. EVEN THOUGH means something happens despite something else happening.
Even though it was raining, we went to the picnic anyway.
Even though he had lots of Cs and Ds, he still applied to Harvard.
EVEN IF tells if something surprising would or would not happen
Even if Billy drove a BMW, I still wouldn't go to the dance with him, Emily said.
Even if Billy gets an A on the final exam, he will still only get a D for the year in English, because his other grades are so bad.
By itself, EVEN can also show shock or surprise.
Aunt Barbara said the pies she bakes are so bad, even her dogs would not eat them!
It was raining so hard, even all the schools had to close.
HAPPEN: (verb) This usually means "to take place" or "to occur."
No one knows what will happen tomorrow, but we still need to make plans.
We did not know what would happen when we put the dog and cat in the same room.
Megan was sad that her "best friend" suddenly got mean with her, but I told her that has happened to me before too.
It can also refer to things that occur without planning or design, but seem to be random.
We don't know why the lamp fell off the table. It just happened!
Billy and Megan seemed so happy together all year, but we don't know why they broke up. It just happened.
KNOWLEDGE: (noun) This is the noun form of the verb "to know."
1. Facts, information of skills someone has.
Good teachers love working with students who are curious and have a thirst for knowledge.
In the US we say, "go to college to get more knowledge."
2. Awareness or familiarity
Billy has been playing games on his phone during class without his teacher's knowlege.
To my knowledge, Shenzhen is the fastest-growing city in the world.
This Bible verse from Proverbs 1:5 (Good News Translation) has the words EVEN and KNOWLEDGE.
These proverbs can even add to the knowledge of the wise and give guidance to the educated,
I will end this post with one sentence using all three key words:
Even though Bob lives in Hangzhou, he and his mother came all the way to Nanjing to visit with us when we happened to be there last May; to my knowledge, Bob is my first online student in Hangzhou, and he has a GREAT attitude.
Do YOU have a question about English or life in the USA? Contact me today to ask! And, join an online class so you can improve your KNOWLEDGE of English, EVEN when you HAPPEN to be at home of in the office!
A licensed teacher in the US state of Virginia since 1987, Scott Dreyer has been helping Chinese speakers improve their English since 1989. Dreyer lived in Taiwan from 1989-1999 where he learned Mandarin, met his wife, started his family, and realized he loved working with Chinese students. He became an award-winning author and started teaching ESL online in 2008. Dreyer and his wife and their four adult children make their home in the beautiful Roanoke Valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.dreyercoaching.com/en/about/scott-dreyer