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    #1

    Question The usage of "IF"(from the book Twilight)

    This is the situation in the book:
    The speaker(Bella) is getting married to Edward, and she is secretly jealous of Tanya, who is a magnificent-looking vampire and has liked Edward a long time ago. Tanya's presence at her wedding bothers Bella. Bella thinks her beauty is nothing by comparison to a vampire's beauty.

    And this is the sentence that's been driving me insane for hours:
    "Though Edward clearly--if inconceivably--preferred me, I wouldn't be able to help making comparisons."

    I couldn't understand that blue-colored part. I thought it would be "if conceivably", as if saying "if it's possible, conceivable".
    I took the meaning as this: Though Edward obviously loves me(if it's ever conceivable, if it's any possible), I would still be jealous.
    I also tried thinking another way. I put "AND" instead of "IF". Though Edward clearly, and inconceivably preferred me, I wouldn't be able to help making comparisons.
    I understand the meaning of the sentence from the context, but I am confused about that "if inconceivably". What would the full clause be, if someone could slip in a subject and a verb in between "IF" and "INCONCEIVABLY"? I was wondering if this usage of "if" is just another literary use that I don't know of. Could someone please help me get out of this horrible incomprehension?

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    #2

    Re: The usage of "IF"(from the book Twilight)

    Quote Originally Posted by sorkroto View Post
    I also tried thinking another way. I put "AND" instead of "IF". Though Edward clearly, and inconceivably preferred me, I wouldn't be able to help making comparisons.
    You are on the right path. Yes, consider "clearly" and "inconceivably" in relation to each other. But it is not an "and" relation here. You can think more about it or consult a dictionary.

    My suggestion is : "although perhaps". Two examples from Macmillan advanced lerners dictionary:
    1- The stories are basically true, if a little exaggerated.
    2- Donald's essays are always interesting, if sometimes rather careless.

    I do not consider it a literary use of "if". Anyway, sooner or later you will learn all uses of "if" that you need, if you really need them.
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    #3

    Re: The usage of "IF"(from the book Twilight)

    ***Not a teacher***

    "Though Edward clearly--if inconceivably--preferred me, I wouldn't be able to help making comparisons."
    I think this would retain the same meaning if it were written:

    "Though Edward clearly preferred me (even though the reasons for this may be inconceivable to you and me), I wouldn't be able to help making comparisons"

    Ade

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