'Aún' vs. 'Aun'

Similar adverbs differ in meaning

woman with camera for Spanish lesson
Sus fotos son inferiores aun con una cámara cara. (Her photos are inferior, even with an expensive camera.).

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Although aun and aún are adverbs that look much alike, sound alike, and can each be translated sometimes by the English adverb "even," they have different meanings and should not be confused with each other. But don't feel bad if they trip you up — even native speakers frequently confuse them.

Key Takeaways: Aun vs. Aún

  • Aun and aún are both adverbs. They share a pronunciation, and they are often translated the same way in English.
  • Aun typically has the meaning of "including," even it is often translated in different ways.
  • Aún typically is used in comparisons or to indicate that a verb's action is still continuing.

How To Use Aun

Aun, which is usually synonymous with incluso, is frequently translated as "even" when it indicates that what follows is included in a category. In the translations below, a second sentence not worded in a typical manner is used to clearly indicate how "even" is being used.

  • Seré la única que estaré allí aun si hace frío. (I will be the only one who is there even if it is cold. I will be the only one there including if it's cold.)
  • Aprende a vivir aun con las dificultades se vengan cada día. (Learn to leave even with the difficulties that come around every day. Learn to live in spite of the difficulties that come around each day.)
  • Aun así, no puedo hacerlo. (Even so, I can't do it. Including under those circumstances, I can't do it.)
  • Aun hoy te recuerdo. (Even today I remember you. I remember you, including today.)
  • Sus fotos son muy inferiores aun con una cámara cara. (Her photos are very inferior, even with an expensive camera. His photos are very inferior, including with an expensive camera.)
  • Aun los bebes que amamantan pueden tener problemas. (Even babies who breastfeed can have problems. Babies, including those who breastfeed, can have problems.)
  • Aun yo tengo un sueño. (Even I have a dream. Everyone, including me, has a dream.)

How To Use Aún

Aún, on the other hand, is used to indicate that an action or status is continuing. With this usage, it is often synonymous with todavía and can be translated as "still" or "yet."

  • El mundo aún está en peligro. (The world is still in danger.)
  • ¡Aún no lo creo! (I still don't believe it!)
  • No he visto aún la película, pero el libro me encantó. (I haven't seen the movie yet, but I loved the book.)
  • Aún quiero pensar que no lo hizo. (I still want to think she didn't do it.) 
  • El peso aún puede apreciarse. (The peso can still gain value.)

In comparisons, usually ones using más or menos, aún can be translated as "still" or "even." Note that aun isn't used this way in comparisons.

  • Quiero hacer aún más verde el césped. (I want to make the lawn even greener.)
  • El sector industrial genera aún menos empleo que la agricultura. (The industrial sector generates even fewer jobs than agriculture does.)
  • Título de libro: La mujer que brillaba aún más que el sol. (Book title: The Woman Who Outshone the Sun.)
  • El software libre es ahora aún más importante. (Free software is even more important now.)
  • En las áreas rurales el servicio es aún menos confiable. (In rural areas, the service is even less reliable.)

Pronunciation of Aun and Aún

If you were to follow the standard rules of pronunciation, the vowel sounds of aun and aún would be distinctly different, the former being something like "oun" (rhyming with "town" and "gown") using a diphthong, the latter something like "ah-OON" (rhyming with "tune" and "moon").

In practice, however, both are pronounced as ah-OON, the differences between the two words being very subtle to nonexistent. Even in aun, there is nearly always a stress on the u.

Both words come from the same Latin root, and in some dictionaries, such as that of the Royal Spanish Academy, they share a single listing. The accent developed not to distinguish pronunciation but to distinguish usage, just as que and qué have different uses.

Other Translations of 'Even'

Keep in mind when translating from from English that the English "even" isn't always the equivalent of aun or aún. Here are three examples with the translation for "even" in boldface:

  • La superficie de la Tierra no es lisa. (The surface of the Earth isn't even.)
  • Los dos equipos jugaron iguales cometiendo muchos errores. (The two teams played even, making many mistakes.)
  • Se vale cien euros exactos. (It's worth an even 100 euros.)