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  1. #1
    xabk is offline Newbie
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    Default Is there anything special in meaning of "for if"?

    As an example, I can give a short excerpt:

    "The castle is under siege there. We cannot spare our strength to help them for if they fall... The other guards know more about it than I do."

    So, what's the meaning of "We cannot spare our strength to help them for if they fall..." phrase? Is it just "we can't send reinforcements to them, because if they fall.. (smth omitted)"? But there's a lack of logic in this variant.. Or there's something about "for if" here, what changes the meaning of the phrase?

    Please, help me. I couldn't find anything on the web about "for if". Even, if it's just "for" + "if", or there's something more..

  2. #2
    Jaskin is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Is there anything special in meaning of "for if"?

    hello,
    not a teacher,

    I think the for is connected to spare.
    The meaning isn't clear to me can you give a wider context.
    cheers,

  3. #3
    banderas's Avatar
    banderas is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Is there anything special in meaning of "for if"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaskin View Post

    I think the for is connected to spare.
    I second that!
    You spare something for something/someone.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ps.Please participate in the vote 'Would you like to live in the USA?'. We need to see your beautiful opinions about living in the USA! Hopping that you'd set the stage for having a good conclusion!

  4. #4
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Is there anything special in meaning of "for if"?

    I agree that more context would help. But it seems to me possible that "... We cannot spare our strength to help them for if they fall..." is just an inelegant way of saying "The castle is under siege there. We cannot spare our strength to help them just in case they fall... ." In the original 'spare...for' goes together, and the object of "for" is whatever help "they" may need if they fall. So the sense might be 'If they fall, tough. We shouldn't waste our resources on a lost cause.

    b

  5. #5
    xabk is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Is there anything special in meaning of "for if"?

    It's a pity, but there's no wider context..

    Well, thanks.. But the meaning is still unclear.. Waiting for another person to help.

  6. #6
    xabk is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Is there anything special in meaning of "for if"?

    BobK, you mean, "we're pretty shure they won't handle it and thus shouldn't even bother to help"?

    Or, based on "In the original 'spare...for' goes together, and the object of "for" is whatever help "they" may need if they fall.", it's "can't spare our strength for helping them if they fall" (which means, "just can't help them")?
    Last edited by xabk; 27-Jul-2008 at 23:24.

  7. #7
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Is there anything special in meaning of "for if"?

    Quote Originally Posted by xabk View Post
    BobK, you mean, "we're pretty shure they won't handle it and thus shouldn't even bother to help"?

    Or, based on "In the original 'spare...for' goes together, and the object of "for" is whatever help "they" may need if they fall.", it's "can't spare our strength for helping them if they fall" (which means, "just can't help them")?
    I think the first version 'we're pretty sure... [no H - I suppose you know]' is putting it a bit strongly; more like 'Whether they handle it or not [and we don't know which] it's up to them; it'd be wasteful for us to get involved, whatever happens.'

    If the writer were Spanish or Latin American*, the unusual 'for if' would come naturally to them, because of por si .... Something similar sometimes occurs in spoken English (very informal) - 'we'd better <do something> for just in case.' Note: never write this, and only use it in speech if you're confident in this degree of 'colloquiality'! :-;

    b

    PS *- or come to think of it, if they come from a part of the United States with strong Hispanic influences.
    Last edited by BobK; 28-Jul-2008 at 10:37. Reason: Added PS

  8. #8
    xabk is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Is there anything special in meaning of "for if"?

    BobK, thank you.

    "shure" - a silly mistake I make from time to time.. can't get rid of it.. :)

  9. #9
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Is there anything special in meaning of "for if"?

    I wonder whether it might be a combination of ellipsis and light punctuation, with the sense:

    1. The castle is under siege there. We cannot spare our strength to help them; for if they fall [X, which is terrible, will happen.] The other guards know more about it than I do.

    Perhaps the speaker breaks off because he doesn't want to mention X; or perhaps he remembers that it is not his business to speculate.

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

  10. #10
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Is there anything special in meaning of "for if"?

    sounds good to me.

    b

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