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These are the lyrics for the song "Take A Look Around" by Limp Bizkit

"Now I know why you wanna hate me 'Cause hate is all the world has even seen lately"

"I used to love driving and repairing station wagons, but the only one I have even seen lately was in a different country"- In this one "even" implies to me that this person merely saw the car in question and not drove it or made repairs on it like in the past.

If I apply this to the lyrics it seems as if the world only saw hate and not experienced etc. in other words the scope of the influence of hate seems to be reduced by the usage of "even" and not emphasized as I think the band intended."Cause hate is all the world has seen lately" doesn't limit hate's reach to only visual experience.

Is that correct?

Is the definition for "even" below the correct one?

"even" adverb:

used to stress an extreme or highly unlikely condition or instance so simple even a child can do it (Merriam-Webster).

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    even is increasingly used in very "loose" ways that would rarely have occurred even just a few decades ago. For example, What do you even mean by that? isn't remotely unusual to many younger speakers today, but I can't help thinking it's "weird". Mar 9, 2023 at 15:56
  • I both of the examples you provided in your comment "even" emphasizes the sentence. "even just a few decades ago" emphasized the shortness of time and "what do you even mean by that" emphasizes that you "only have something in mind" not necessarily trying to implement your idea. "hate is all the world has even seen lately" is not emphasizing the scope of the influence of hate though. Doesn't it mean that "even" is used incorrectly? Mar 9, 2023 at 16:12
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    Your understanding of how even is used in the song lyric is not quite right. It does not mean the world has only seen but not experienced hate. The use of even in the lyric merely emphasizes all, increasing the intensity of its all-ness. From my perspective it is largely unnecessary. I can't comprehend how all can be increased. But as FumbleFingers says there is much latitude in how even is being used.
    – EllieK
    Mar 9, 2023 at 16:13
  • Sorry if it's confusing. Yeah - I deliberately included even just a few decades ago as a "traditionally valid" usage, to exaggerate the contrast with What do you even mean by that? (quite common today, but would almost never have occurred just a few decades ago). Mar 9, 2023 at 16:17
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    @EllieK-Don'tsupporther: I "sorta" agree with you (that we should understand even as intensifying all), but even if we discount the (very real, imho! :) possibility that younger speakers simply don't know what they're talking about, it's perfectly possible to orally deliver OP's example without even, but with heavy stress on seen (as opposed to all). So we could argue for even intensifying seen rather than all. It's just more difficult semantically to explain what "intensified" seen might imply! Mar 9, 2023 at 16:23

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I feel that in the lyrics sited, "even" is superfluous and you could completely leave it out without affecting the intended meaning. My guess is that it was used to fill out the needed syllables in the song.

I don't think that it typically used to indicated a deeper context, as you questioned, other than the dictionary meaning implied. I would say that the dictionary meaning could be expanded to include use for extremely likely and extremely unlikely situations.

"Even my grandma can use the Internet."

As others have pointed out, colloquial use of even has reached new heights and has lessened the meaning of any emphasis in certain contexts.

"What do you even mean by that?"

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Here's a chart showing how rapidly even has been taken up recently in a context that sounds really weird to me...

enter image description here

But it's all relative, and relatively speaking it's still not at all common to include even there...

enter image description here


TL;DR: Don't spend too long trying to work out exactly what even means. Quite often in modern texts it hardly even means anything at all. (It doesn't really make any difference whether I include it in my preceding sentence or not! :)

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