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  1. Member
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Hong Kong
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong

    • Join Date: Dec 2007
    • Posts: 468

    Anything to go by

    Dear teachers,

    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.

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
    VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 5,158

    Re: Anything to go by

    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.


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