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Thread: If you will

  1. #1
    docdoc is offline Newbie
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    Default If you will

    After noticing the constant use of the phrase, "if you will," by political pundits, I began to be annoyed by it, because it seems to me to be an unnecessary phrase that conveys little meaning. To me, it means that the speaker/writer is suggesting that if the listener/reader will concede to or allow certain assumptions, then the statement in question is offered for consideration.

    What this implies, to me, is that the statement is not offered as fact but rather as opinion. When I googled the idiom, I was referred to a definition on this site that seemed to suggest another meaning, i.e., that the statement is offered as a "concession" by the speaker/writer, which means something else entirely.

    Does anyone have an opinion on the meaning of "if you will"? I would be interested in hearing from you.
    Last edited by docdoc; 16-Jun-2011 at 20:39. Reason: clarity

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: If you will

    Quote Originally Posted by docdoc View Post
    After noticing the constant use of the phrase, "if you will," by political pundits, I began to be annoyed by it, because it seems to me to be an unnecessary phrase that conveys little meaning. To me, it means that the speaker/writer is suggesting that if the listener/reader will concede to or allow certain assumptions, then the statement in question is offered for consideration.

    What this implies, to me, is that the statement is not offered as fact but rather as opinion. When I googled the idiom, I was referred to a definition on this site that seemed to suggest another meaning, i.e., that the statement is offered as a "concession" by the speaker/writer, which means something else entirely.

    Does anyone have an opinion on the meaning of "if you will"? I would be interested in hearing from you.
    I've always taken it to mean what you've said in your first paragraph.
    Teacher to Parents: "Your Johnny is a difficult child to teach. He's hyperactive, rude, and shows no interest - an unholy terror, if you will."

    Can you give the link to the other defintion?

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    docdoc is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: If you will

    Thanks for your comment.

    I attempted to post the link but a thread must have ten or more posts to be allowed to post a link. However, if you google "meaning of if you will", the link will come up.

    I'm new to usingenglish.com and don't know all the rules and customs. Do you know why my thread is already closed?

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    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: If you will

    Quote Originally Posted by docdoc View Post
    After noticing the constant use of the phrase, "if you will," by political pundits, I began to be annoyed by it, because it seems to me to be an unnecessary phrase that conveys little meaning. To me, it means that the speaker/writer is suggesting that if the listener/reader will concede to or allow certain assumptions, then the statement in question is offered for consideration.

    What this implies, to me, is that the statement is not offered as fact but rather as opinion. When I googled the idiom, I was referred to a definition on this site that seemed to suggest another meaning, i.e., that the statement is offered as a "concession" by the speaker/writer, which means something else entirely.

    Does anyone have an opinion on the meaning of "if you will"? I would be interested in hearing from you.
    I see it as a little of both but would lean mostly toward your original understanding.

  5. #5
    docdoc is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: If you will

    I agree that the phrase is a bit ambiguous (which is why I looked it up in the first place), but I appreciate the fact that you lean toward my understanding. I think that it has become extremely common among politicians and TV talking heads to overuse whatever phrase is currently in vogue. During the last election, I got extremely tired of hearing everyone begin a statement with "Look...", and our President is guilty of throwing in "you know" far too often.

    Now "if you will" seems to be the phrase of the day, and I'll bet if you asked the speakers what they mean by it, they'd be hard pressed to answer.

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