How to use IF and EVEN IF in English grammar, plus a visit to Wales | DailyStep English

How to use IF and EVEN IF in English grammar, plus a visit to Wales

Jane Lawson English Teacher in LondonHello, I’m Jane at DailyStep English and welcome to my audio blog!

I have just come back from a week in West Wales. It wasn’t a holiday, as I had my laptop with me and I was working on DailyStep as usual. But it was great to be out of London for a week, breathing in the fresh air and walking by the sea.

In this blog, I’m going to tell you a little about this fascinating and beautiful part of Britain, then in the Audio Word Study, I’ll explain the main meaning of EVEN, and then look at another confusing expression containing this word. 

So, let’s start off with a trip to Wales.

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Scenic Western Wales

by Jane Lawson at

I have just returned from West Wales. My mother-in-law has a shop there, and Brendan and I were minding it while she was on holiday. This part of Britain is incredibly beautiful and it is well worth a visit. Wales is a country in the west of the island of Great Britain. It shares a border with England. You can learn more about the relationship between Wales and England in my blog about the British Isles.

Last weekend, we stayed in a coastal town called Barmouth. It has amazing sandy beaches, and gentle mountains behind it, all covered in lush green grass and trees. Further inland are the higher mountains of Snowdonia. Barmouth is built next to a wide estuary, and it is a typical Welsh seaside town, with grey stone buildings and green hills rising up behind them. You can see a picture of Barmouth harbour in the top left hand picture, and a typical view of the town in the top right hand picture.

One of the things I love about going to this part of Wales is that the Welsh language is thriving. You can hear parents speaking Welsh to their young children, and groups of teenagers laughing together and speaking in Welsh. The signs are all in Welsh first, and then in English. You can see one of these signs in the bottom right hand picture. Welsh is completely unrelated to English – in fact, it is an ancient Celtic language that dates back to before the Romans invaded Britain in the year 43 AD.

The Welsh language is actually related to an ancient language that is still spoken in Brittany, Northern France. This is because, after the Roman Empire collapsed and the Romans left Britain in about 400 AD, the Celts, who had lived quite peacefully with the Romans, left what is now England and settled in Wales and Brittany, to escape from the invading Anglo-Saxons and Vikings. You can read more about this period of British history in my blog about the stor of the English language.

It always strikes me, when I enter any Welsh town, to see so many old, grand churches. Even in a small town like Barmouth, there are at least 6 large churches, and one of them is more like a cathedral. It is hard to see how such small towns, especially with the tiny populations that they had back when these churches were built, could ever have had enough people to fill even one of these churches. These days, most of them are used as shops or theatres, as you can see in the bottom left hand picture.

The weather in Wales is notoriously changeable. We were very lucky that most of the time it was sunny and warm – but you often hear stories on the news about walkers who set off on a sunny day for a long walk in the Welsh hills, and are then surprised by a sudden change in the weather.

So, now that we have learnt a bit about Wales, let’s move on to our audio word study, where we will take another look at EVEN. 

Here is Audio Word Study #028 from Jane Lawson at

EVEN (part 2)

In my last DailyStep audio blog, I explained the difference between EVEN THOUGH and EVEN SO.Many of you have emailed me since then, asking me to explain the meaning of this confusing little word, EVEN. So in this study, we will take a look at the most usual uses of EVEN, and then at 2 more commonly confused expressions.

Even (adverb)

Meaning: We use EVEN in order to show that something is surprising, unusual, unexpected, or extreme.

Examples: 1. I was working so hard this morning on my English lessons for that I did not even have time for a coffee break. 

2. My friend Helen is on a diet because she wants to lose weight. She will not even eat one biscuit or cake! (note: in this sentence, I find it surprising that she will not eat such a small amount as one biscuit or cake.)

3. They won the lottery over fifteen years ago, and even now they can’t believe how lucky they were to win it. (note: this means that it is surprising that they still can’t believe how lucky they were.)

4. I gave my sister clear directions on how to get to the house, but even then she got lost and was several hours late for dinner. (note: this means I am surprised that my sister got lost, because I gave her clear directions.)



Meaning: EVEN IF means ‘whether or not’. It is not the same as IF. 

Examples: Even if you run fast, you'll still miss the bus. (note: this means ‘It doesn’t matter whether you run fast or not, you will still miss the bus’.)

What is the difference between EVEN IF and IF?

Compare these 2 sentences:

My brother will not be able to come to the party even if you change the date to next weekend, because he’ll be in America. (note: this means ‘It doesn’t matter whether or not you change the date of your party to next weekend. My brother still won’t be able to come to the party.)

My brother will not be able to come to the party if you change the date to next weekend, because he’ll be in America. (note: this means ‘My brother will be able to come to the party if you do notchange the date to next weekend. But if you change it to next weekend, he will not be able to come because he’ll be in America.)

So, be careful to use the correct expression! Many English learners think that using EVEN IF is the same thing as emphasising IF. But, as I now hope you understand, these expressions have very different meanings!

That’s all for today’s word study! I will teach you some more ways to use EVEN in a future audio blog!

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Well, that is it for today! I’ll be in touch again soon. Thank you for your many requests about subjects you would like me to cover in my blogs. I will cover as many of them as I can!


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