What is the difference between "even better", "much better", and "a lot better" in comparison statements?

In comparison statements, you can use "even" or "much" (or "a lot") to emphasize the degree of the adjective or adverb.

However, is there any difference between "even", "much", an "a lot"?

For example:

I can swim faster than he.

I can swim even faster than he.

I can swim a lot faster than he.

I can swim much faster than he.

What is the difference?

• It's just a question of degrees. There is the comparison to the prior statement (all of these increase speed relatively), and then there is the degree of how much faster. "even faster" implies a larger degree of speed difference, "a lot faster" moreso and "much faster" even moreso. The differences aren't quantified, they're just general and relative. You're 50 and I'm 51? I'm a little older than you. You're 20? I'm a lot older or much older than you. Oct 18, 2017 at 17:57
• @JimMacKenzie So if you order them by the degree, it is - much > a lot > even > nothing - ? Oct 18, 2017 at 17:59
• Yes, assuming they're all comparing to the same base amount. Oct 18, 2017 at 18:05
• In my opinion, "much" and "a lot" are the same. Oct 18, 2017 at 18:35
• I agree that "much" and "a lot" mean the same here. I also agree with Amber Hopkins' point in her answer - that "even faster" doesn't necessarily mean that there's a big gap in speed between the two swimmers. Rather it means that one of the swimmers is fast, and the other (even) faster (but not necessarily by a large amount). It's worth noting than in real life we rarely say "faster than he". It is usually either "faster than him" or "faster than he can". Oct 18, 2017 at 21:51