I just had an English test where there was a text about a Swedish girl that had been an exchange student in high school. In the beginning of the text, it was stated that American girls thought that the prom dress was one of the most important things about prom. The text had word gaps we had to fill in, and, later on in the text, there was this sentence with a word gap in it.

"___ to Julia the dress was also one of the most important things of prom."

A lot of my classmates filled the gap with "According" but to me that's wrong. The usage of "also" in the sentence makes it clear that this is to be found surprising or unthought of. I filled the gap with "even" so that it became "Even to Julia..." but my sister just said that you can't use the adverb even in such a way.
That it should have been written as "even for Julia...". But I wasn't allowed to change the "to" in the sentence.

Is it grammatically correct for me to have written "even to" or did I screw up?

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Dec 2 '16 at 8:56

This question came from our site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts.

  • 1
    It is grammatically correct, whether it was the correct answer or not, is a different question. – BladorthinTheGrey Nov 28 '16 at 16:49
  • Thank you for the answer. I was going crazy, because I've gotten straight A's in English all my life. It felt right but I actually didn't know for sure if it was, but since you validated it I'm calm now. You just saved the rest of my day, I thank you again for that :) – DanGii Nov 28 '16 at 16:54
  • 1
    It would have to be an extremely contrived context to make Even to work in the initial position, given the word also. That would imply a situation where at least one other person also thought that "the dress" was one of the most important things about the prom. Presumably we're talking about one particular dress, so whereas it would be quite natural for whoever was wearing it (Julia?) to think her dress was important, it's not obvious to me why anyone else would already be thinking that before we're even told that Julia herself valued it highly. – FumbleFingers Nov 28 '16 at 17:39
  • (A more plausible version for likely contexts would be According to Julia, the dress was also important.) – FumbleFingers Nov 28 '16 at 17:42
  • I get what you're playing at there, but in the context they were (to 99% certainty) talking about prom dresses in general, the concept of the dress itself. And as I said in my initial question, it was stated earlier in the text that American girls value the prom dress, so in the context I would argue that it's correct to use "even" and incorrect to use "according". This because "also" is in the sentence, in a particular spot. That tells us that it's something that's already been mentioned in the text. Then it's perfectly valid to use "even". And as Bladorthin stated, "even to" is correct. – DanGii Nov 28 '16 at 20:51

Your "Even to Julia" idea would work in the right context, e.g. even Julia, who hasn't worn a dress since 2012 when she was invited to be a bridesmaid at her cousin's wedding, found the prom dress to be the most important part of the whole affair.

There is an implicit comparison when you use "even".

You could gain more naturalness and confidence in your use of "even" by looking at example sentences in dictionaries.


If the question is solely about “even to” or “even for” then they’re interchangeable in most cases; certainly here.

Either way, the word “also” introduces too many complications for there be a clear answer without the exact text that went before.

“According / even / only / other than / also / apart from / except to Julia” the dress could have been almost anything you like but “also” means the sentence can never stand by itself, as aparente001 said. It will not be grammatically incorrect but neither will it have a clear meaning.

Further in British, and I suspect even in US English, “of prom” is unnatural. Prove this by dropping the rest of the sentence and asking anyone you know to list “things of prom”, then asking anyone else to list “things about prom” then comparing their responses.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy