When it comes to punctuation rules, it seems like contradicting ideas are thrown at us all the time. This article will help you to understand how commas work with the word “even” and how you can help yourself remember which rules apply when.
Should I Place A Comma Before “Even”?
You usually don’t have to place a comma before “even;” however, if you’re using it as part of a list of adjectives or as a parenthetical element, it’s likely that you’ll include a comma before it. “Even” is an adverb or adjective, making it less likely that commas are needed.
When Should I Place A Comma Before “Even”?
We can place a comma before “even” when we’re using it as the first word of a parenthetical element or as part of an adjective list. We do this when we want to include additional information without taking too much away from the overall flow of the sentence.
Parenthetical elements can be removed, should we need them to be. Even if we remove them, the general idea behind the sentence will still be the same, which is why we might use “even” in this way.
There are two ways we might see a parenthetical element used. The first would be to include “even” as the second clause of a sentence, thus using a period once we’ve finished the clause. This is also known as a sentence-final clause.
The second way is to include parentheses, which separate the phrase in the middle with two commas. You can see both forms in action below:
- I’d like to know more about it, even if you’re not willing to tell me.
- He would do it, even if he knew it was wrong, just to spite me.
We may also use commas before “even” when it’s part of an adjective list:
- The long, even road wound around for miles.
- My short, even haircut is wonderful, thank you.
Should I Ever Place A Comma After “Even”?
There are no times where commas come after “even” as an adverb. However, we can place commas after “even” should it make sense to do so when we use it as an adjective. In these cases, it depends entirely on the context.
Generally, “even” is used more frequently as an adverb, which is why we mentioned that it’s unlikely for anyone to place commas after it. However, in the off chance that you might use it as an adjective, you could use it in the following ways:
- I’d like to break even, though I’m not sure how likely that’s going to be.
- We needed to find something that made us even, but we couldn’t find a single idea!
When Should I Not Use A Comma With “Even”?
It’s most common to use “even” without any commas because we use it as an adverb. Generally, it will modify a noun, verb, or adjective, and no comma will be needed in any of these cases. We might also include it as part of a construction, which means comma rules are changed.
If it’s part of a construction, we’ll include commas somewhere else in the clause rather than simply before or after “even.” We’ll touch more on that later, though.
For the most part, “even” without a comma is the most common way to write it. You can see it in the following examples:
- He’s not even trying, and he’s already better than us.
- We’re just trying to find a way to make this game more even.
- Even without his guidance, I’ve had an easy time figuring out what I need to do.
- He didn’t care for me even when I told him that I was pregnant.
- My mother and father even said that I would never amount to anything.
We included as many variations and examples as we could think of. There are no strict rules that tell us whether we can or can’t use commas with even. Most of it comes down to the context of your sentence and whether a comma would make sense or not.
If you don’t feel the need to break up your sentence with a comma, then no commas are used with “even.” If you feel like the sentence is long-winded and difficult to comprehend, then you do need commas.
Comma Rules For “Even” As Part Of A Construction
When “even” is part of a construction, the rules for it change slightly. You might come across a comma slightly more often when using it in this case, and we thought we’d include the most popular “even” constructions to help you understand how they work.
Comma With “Even Though”
With “even though,” a comma should be placed before it if it’s the second clause of a sentence. If you’re starting the sentence with “even though,” you won’t need a comma until after the first clause has ended.
We can show you both of the above examples below by starting a sentence with “even though” and starting the second clause with “even though.”
- He wasn’t going to tell her about it, even though she begged him to let her in.
- Even though I’m not sure about what comes next, I’ll be happy to dive into it with my peers.
You may benefit from reading our article that looks more into Comma Before “Even Though”.
Comma With “Even So”
When using “even so,” we should place a comma directly after it because it works as a conjunctive clause similar to “therefore” or “however.” We usually place a period before it, though you might also find it useful for a semi-colon to work instead.
Since it is used to group two sentences together, it’s impossible to come up with a good way of using “even so” without a sentence before it. If you’re not linking it back to the previous sentence, you’ll struggle to use it properly.
- He wasn’t going to be there for her. Even so, she was going to make sure he knew who she was.
- It’s going to be hard to talk to you about it; even so, I’ll be there when you need me.
Comma With “Even If”
“Even if” needs a comma before it if we include it as the second phrase of the sentence. If we start the sentence with “even if,” then we don’t need a comma until after the first clause is complete.
- He’s going to find it hard, even if you help him.
- Even if you’re not there, I’m still going to go.
Comma With “Even When”
With “even when,” we include the comma before it when it’s part of the second clause of a sentence because we need to separate the clauses. If we start the sentence with “even when,” we don’t include a comma until after the last word of the first clause.
- I’ve always known you cared, even when you left home at a young age.
- Even when I’m old and grey, I’ll still always be there for you.
Comma With “Even Then”
With “even then,” a comma must come after it when we start a sentence with it. We generally do not include a comma before it and instead use a period to separate two sentences.
When we use “even then,” we’re talking about something that might happen that could cause our opinions to change in some way. For that reason, it’s rare that you’ll see it without a valid reason established in a previous sentence.
- If the world ends, there’s not much we can do. Even then, I’ll make sure I’m there for you.
- The year was 2002, and the government was incapable of change. Even then, we found a way to get through to the people.
Comma With “Even More So”
If “even more so” starts a sentence to talk about something having more of an impact than before, we include a comma directly after it to break up the sentence. If we use “even more so” to modify a verb, we don’t need to include any commas with it.
We can show you what we mean by including the following examples:
- With your generous donations, we’ll be able to start up a new drive. Even more so, since you included such a handsome rewards package.
- I love my new job even more so now that I get to work with one of my closest friends.
The verb “love” is modified in the second example, which is why “even more so” needs no commas.
Comma With “And Even”
We do not need to include a comma directly before or after “and even.” Instead, we can wait until the clause that it starts is completed and put the comma at the end of it. Generally, we place a period before “and even” or allow it to continue on as part of a sentence with no punctuation.
- You’re not going to stop me. And even if you do, I’m going to make sure it backfires in some way.
- He’s not going to quit. And even though he won’t, I still have all the faith in him to change his ways.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.