General Writing and Grammar Help/sentence structure

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QUESTION: Am I properly using "even" in the following sentence?

Not even one flower was by your side or in the room.

(I'm trying to capture that there were no flowers at this person's funeral.  I think the above sounds better than merely saying "There were no flowers by your side or in the room."

I'd appreciate your guidance. Thanks very much.

ANSWER: Hi Patty

It's not QUITE right

"There was not a single flower by your side ...

"Not a single flower was ...

"There were no flowers ...

'even' just isn't used in the sense you are suggesting - in that sentence anyway

I hope that helps

chers


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks very much.  This brings up something else I have often wondered about.  
If "not a single flower was..." is used, couldn't someone then assume that more than one flower might have been there?  Do you see what I mean?  I like the sound of it, but think that "There were no flowers" leaves no guessing. What are your thoughts about people thinking more than one flower might have been there?  Thanks very much.

Answer
If "not a single flower was..." is used, couldn't someone then assume that more than one flower might have been there?  

Yes - that is what "not a single" means

I like the sound of it, but think that "There were no flowers" leaves no guessing.

"There were no flowers" is saying the same thing in a different way

What are your thoughts about people thinking more than one flower might have been there?  

I prefer "not a single flower"

cheers  

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I can answer questions on English language, grammar, writing skills, and study skills. I am particularly experienced in the writing skills required for academic essays, term papers, reports, dissertations, and post-graduate theses.

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I have forty years experience as a tutor and as the author of books on writing and study skills. For thirty years I was a tutor for the Workers' Educational Association, which specialises in courses for adult students and preparing mature students for university. I was also a tutor for the Open University between 1975 and 2010. During that time I have also written a number of books on writing and study skills. In the last ten years or more I have specialised in creating computer-aided learning materials and online learning courses.

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"Making the Grade" (Manchester University Press) 1990 "Studying Fiction" (Manchester University Press) 1991 "Marking Essays" (Clifton Press) 1993 "Revision and Examinations" (Clifton Press) 1993 "Writing Essays" (Clifton Ress) 1996 "Study Skills" (Clifton Press) 1996 "Electronic Writing" (Clifton Press) 1996 "Improve your Writing Skills" (Clifton Press) 2010 "Writing Essays 3.0" (Clifton Press) 2008 [computer program] "English Language 3.0" (Clifton Press) 2008 [computer program] "Study Skills 2.0" (Clifton Press) 2008 [computer program]

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My first degree was in mechanical engineering (HNC). I then switched to literary studies and philosophy. My second degree was a BA in English and American Literature (from Manchester University - UK). I also have an MA in Comparative Literary Studies, and my doctoral thesis (PhD) was in the relationship between literature and politics.

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