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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 559
    #1

    difficult, if not impossible

    Dear all,

    I'd like to ask the meaning of the underlined phrase.

    ...In every medical school class, there is probably a small group of people who are genuinely driven by the need to know. I suspect they will work out any avenue through which to excercise this need to know, this overpowering curiosity to find out how things really work. It is difficult, if not impossible, to develop in those who do not want to know, the curiosity to know....

    Which is closer to meanning of "It is difficult, if not impossible" above?

    1. Even if it is not impossible, it is difficult
    2. it is at least difficult, or perhaps impossible


    Thank you!

    OP


    • Join Date: May 2008
    • Posts: 1,157
    #2

    Re: difficult, if not impossible

    Hello, OP.

    if
    even though : although
    ▪ It was an interesting if unbelievable story.
    ▪ Her actions were understandable, if not forgivable.
    ▪ He had to perform an annoying, if necessary, task.
    ▪ a fair, if tough, boss
    ▪ The weather was good, if not great.

    if
    たとえでも, としても
    ・ an informative if dull lecture
    退屈だが有益な講義
    ・ She has a necklace that is attractive, if not valuable.
    高価ではないにしてもとてもすてきなネックレスを持っている
    ・ The weather was fine, if not glorious.
    天気はすばらしいとまではいかなくても晴れていた

    I hope this helps.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
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      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,091
    #3

    Re: difficult, if not impossible

    Quote Originally Posted by optimistic pessimist View Post
    Dear all,

    I'd like to ask the meaning of the underlined phrase.

    ...In every medical school class, there is probably a small group of people who are genuinely driven by the need to know. I suspect they will work out any avenue through which to excercise this need to know, this overpowering curiosity to find out how things really work. It is difficult, if not impossible, to develop in those who do not want to know, the curiosity to know....

    Which is closer to meanning of "It is difficult, if not impossible" above?

    1. Even if it is not impossible, it is difficult
    2. it is at least difficult, or perhaps impossible


    Thank you!

    OP
    It means that it might be impossible. But even if it's not impossible, it is at least difficult.

  2. Kluska's Avatar

    • Join Date: Nov 2008
    • Posts: 12
    #4

    Re: difficult, if not impossible

    I'd say that the second meaning is correct but I'm not a teacher ;)

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