Interested in Language
Could you tell me what the meaning of the "if" clause is in the following extract:
"We need not worry, though, that Lu's views may hurt our ministers' feelings. They seem to have an exaggerated sense of their own importance and ability, if their characterisation by an anonymous official is anything to go by." - SCMP on 30 Sept., 2009.
Thank you very much.
To go by something, in this context, means to act upon it, or to trust it.
So it means, "if the story is right."
You can also go by in the sense of passing by, for a visit, or continuing by, as in seeing but not stopping.