Are there any differences in meaning between the following sentences? Are they equally usual?

A. He said not even a word.

B. He did not say even a word.

C. He did not even say a word.


I don't quite understand what you mean by "equally usual"; I don't think A and B are common usage. Out of the three, sentence C is the most idiomatic to me. When it comes to meaning, all three are attempting to say the same thing - He did not say a word. Only C gets it across correctly.

All of the following

"He did not even say a word", "He did not even look at me", "He did not even reply to my text message"

are more common constructions in comparison to the constructions of A and B.

I am having difficulty in finding a situation where B would be more appropriate than C.

"Even" is an adverb here. According to Cambridge, "even" is used to show that something is surprising, unusual, unexpected, or extreme.

Cambridge says:

When "even" refers to a whole clause or sentence, we usually put it in the normal mid position for adverbs, between the subject and the main verb, after the modal verb or [after the] first auxiliary verb, or after be as a main verb.

See Even.

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  • Thanks for the answer. A and B are equally usual = A is as usual as B – Alan Evangelista Oct 3 '19 at 20:01
  • @AlanEvangelista Ahhh I see. Usually, we ask "Are they equivalent? Are they interchangeable? Are they synonymous? Are they equally common in usage?" I am just not familiar with "Are they equally usual?", but it is not wrong. Sorry about that. – AIQ Oct 3 '19 at 20:07

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