Re: doubt if / that
Originally Posted by hopefultoo
- The only problem with that is that 'if' is frequently used with 'doubt'. There are over 300 citations in COCA.
Actually, we do accept it if the meaning is along the lines of "If he were willing/prepared to do it, ...".
We do not accept If he would do it I would do it too
, for example, even though this structure is frequently used on both sides of the pond.
It is a natural, acceptable English construction.
I would argue that I doubt if he could do the job
is inconsistent in the same way as I ain't got none
, for example, and should not be taught in the classroom, especially following a lesson on the difference between 'if' and 'whether.'
Rubbish. If I were a member of one of those sects that occasionally announced the end of the world, I would use 'when' in that sentence precisely because it removes the idea of uncertainty conveyed by 'if'
Does 'if' describe uncertainty? I don't think it does. The uncertainty in sentences such as If the world ends tomorrow we'll all go to heaven
comes from the information given in the sentence and does not stem from the use of 'if.'
Rubbish. The speaker is not certain that all else will fail.
We generally think of such outcomes as uncertain. However, the general gist of If all else fails you'll need a lawyer
is one of certainty.
But 'in the event' carries the message of uncertainty.
n neither sentence could 'if' be construed as relating to uncertainty:
If the world ends tomorrow we'll all go to heaven
is not equivalent to In the uncertain event that the world ends tomorrow we'll all go to heaven.
It is equivalent only to In the event that the world ends tomorrow we'll all go to heaven.
If all else fails you'll need a lawyer
is not equivalent to In the uncertain event all else fails you'll need a lawyer.
It is equivalent only to In the event all else fails you'll need a lawyer.
Have you looked a a dictionary definition of contingency?
If relates to contingency
and not to uncertainty.
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