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Thread: Anything if

  1. #1
    eisenpony is offline Newbie
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    Question Anything if

    A colleague of mine used this to refer to something that is not true. e.g., My professor is anything if fair -- meaning that his professor is definitely not fair.

    Personally, I would have said "My professor is anything but fair", but I actually like the subtle meaning implied by the word if. It seems to suggest that if I, as an observer, wanted to assert this professor was in fact fair, then the speaker would claim my instincts are so off that I might believe anything is true.

    I have never heard anyone else use the phrase but am wondering if it is more common elsewhere. Have you heard it? do you think it is correct?

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Anything if

    'Anything if fair' is not natural English. It has no meaning.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  3. #3
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Anything if

    It makes no sense at all.

    He is nothing but fair = He is always fair.
    He is nothing if not fair = He is fair, even if he is nothing else.
    He is anything but fair = He is not fair but he is a lot of other things.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 23-Mar-2014 at 15:09. Reason: Added a line I thought I'd done
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Anything if

    Quote Originally Posted by eisenpony View Post
    My professor is anything if fair
    I don't use it- anything but fair is the natural form for me.

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