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Comparing Toosky Hierot's answer to my original attempt in Writing critique request: Zhou Ziwang loses weight, just like everyone else nowadays, we have:

me: ...朋友没告诉过...
Toosky Hierot: ...即便是朋友没有告诉过...

I think both mean:

Even [my] friends, [I] did not tell.

I'm not sure if there's any difference here, aside from perhaps writing style. We've opted for different grammar constructs: 连...都... vs. 即便...也... which I think is the same as 即使...也... (which seems to necessitate the 是).

Question: Is there a difference between 连朋友都没告诉过 and 即便是朋友也没有告诉过?

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    Quite the same with small difference. In fact, I even prefer 连……都……here now. – Toosky Hierot Dec 15 '19 at 3:45
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连朋友都没告诉过 = Had not told even his friends

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即便(是)朋友也没有告诉过(他们) = Even though they (are) his friends, he had not told (them)

Notice:

即便 means "even though" or "even if"

There's a verb "是" (being) in "是朋友" (being friends)

More example:

连他父母也不知道他是同性恋 = Even his parents don't know he is gay

即便(是他父母)也不知道他是同性恋 = Even though (they are his parent), they don't know he is gay

Example of 即便:

即便(有)朋友也不能告诉(他们) = Even if/ even though he (has) friends, he can't tell (them)

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即便全国警察都来了也救不了死去的人质了 (Even if) the police of the whole country were here, the dead hostages could not be saved.

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