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and it may be a very fortunate circumstance for him, for Frank, I mean, that he should have attached himself to a girl of such steadiness of character and good judgment as I have always given her credit for—and still am disposed to give her credit for, in spite of this one great deviation from the strict rule of right. And how much may be said in her situation for even that error!”[Mr. Weston said to Emma]

Emma by Jane Austen chapter 46

Context: Mr. Weston here speaks to Emma about his son Frank and Jane's engagement, which was a secret for months.And even Mr. Weston was unaware of it.

In the bold part is "even" functioning as verb? So the whole idea means " to balance that error"?

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  • no, even is not used as a verb here. It is used as an adverb for emphasis, see merriam-webster.com/dictionary/even
    – Esther
    Aug 26, 2022 at 17:10
  • My first thought was that it is functioning as an adverb. But I couldn't make sense of the sentence. Can you paraphrase it to me, I would appreciate it m
    – Ali
    Aug 26, 2022 at 17:17
  • 1
    The book was written a while ago, and many of the grammar constructs used are not very common today (as you likely have noticed). If you re-order it as "even for that error" it may be clearer. As in, Jane usually has good judgement, and even the one major error she made has reasonable explanations.
    – Esther
    Aug 26, 2022 at 17:21
  • Thank you. It makes sense now.
    – Ali
    Aug 26, 2022 at 17:27
  • @Esther That excellent comment wouls make an excellent answer. Aug 26, 2022 at 19:08

1 Answer 1

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Emma was written a while ago, and many of the grammar constructs used are not very common today (as you likely have noticed). However, even is being used as an adverb for emphasis here, rather than as a verb.

If you re-order the phrase as "even for that error" it may be clearer. The meaning would be, "Jane usually has good judgement, and even the one major error she made has reasonable explanations."

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