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I understand the meaning of this word in general, but there's just one question. Here are two examples:

We painted even the floor.

AND

We even painted the floor.

Are they correct and if so, do they have the same meaning?

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  • Sentence number two is much more common, at least in American English. For the idea of the first sentence we would say something like We painted the floor also. – pazzo Apr 19 '15 at 9:22
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    Yes, they're both correct. No, there's no difference in meaning. Even, an operator (like only), can float, as long as it appears immediately before a constituent that contains its focus. Here, floor is the focus, and paint the floor is a verb phrase containing it, so even can go either before floor or before paint. This would be clear in speech because the focus would be stressed; but writing doesn't capture stress so you can't always tell what the focus is if the operator (only, even, etc) isn't printed right before it. – John Lawler Apr 19 '15 at 14:31
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They are both correct, but might convey a slightly different meaning, depending on the context.

We painted (everything) even the floor.

It suggests that you were painting the house already, but you weren't sure whether the floor was part of the deal. You did it anyway, just in case.

We worked so hard. We even painted the floor.

It also suggests that painting of the floor was additional work, so it might have the same meaning as the previous example, but it can also mean it was done in addition to other sorts of work. As in:

We renovated the house: changed the plumbing, repaired the doors, we even painted the floor.

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  • You can use the second form with the meaning you assigned to the first: We painted all parts of the house. We even painted the floor. – Barmar Apr 19 '15 at 9:19
  • You do have a point, I've taken it into account. Thank you :-) – Lucky Apr 19 '15 at 9:30
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I agree with the previous comments - that "even" can be in either position, but the second will probably sound more correct to the ear. However, I think the most important point is that the sentences around this one are necessary to provide adequate context for the reader/hearer to understand the meaning. Also, the awkwardness arises partly from the closeness of "even" to "painted," when really the word "even" is expressing a concept about the floor being difficult to paint (or not usually painted). Consider this sentence: "We painted the whole house -- even the floor!"

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  • You are correct that even establishes a comparison that the sentence doesn't explicitly declare. I'm not sure awkward would be the right way to describe even between painted and the floor. – ScotM Apr 19 '15 at 19:45

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