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    #1

    Question If anything

    "But the pigs seemed comfortable enough, and in fact were putting on weight if anything." (George Orwell, "Animal Farm")

    What does this if anything add to the sentence?

    Thanks,
    Nyggus


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    #2

    Re: If anything

    It changes the meaning only slightly.
    Without the "if anything", the sentence means that the pigs were putting on weight.
    With the "if anything", it means the pigs may be putting on weight. It makes the sentence less definate.


    • Join Date: May 2006
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    #3

    Re: If anything

    Hi,
    How can it be less definite with the words in fact? The answer to Nyggus's question remains unclear to me - my Hornby didn't help.

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    #4

    Re: If anything

    Quote Originally Posted by Humble View Post
    Hi,
    How can it be less definite with the words in fact? The answer to Nyggus's question remains unclear to me - my Hornby didn't help.
    What do you mean by "my Hornby"?


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    #5

    Re: If anything

    "But the pigs seemed comfortable enough, and in fact were putting on weight if anything." (George Orwell, "Animal Farm")

    Orwell is saying that the pigs have settled down, are eating well, and could well be said to be putting on weight rather than staying the same size or losing it.

    Since no-one has weighed them, this is an objective judgement based on observation rather than proven fact. He is qualifying the statement "were putting on weight" with "if anything" to make this point.

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    #6

    Re: If anything

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    "But the pigs seemed comfortable enough, and in fact were putting on weight if anything." (George Orwell, "Animal Farm")

    Orwell is saying that the pigs have settled down, are eating well, and could well be said to be putting on weight rather than staying the same size or losing it.

    Since no-one has weighed them, this is an objective judgement based on observation rather than proven fact. He is qualifying the statement "were putting on weight" with "if anything" to make this point.
    Even though I follow your explanation, I still can't imagine other examples of the use of this phrase. Can I then write, "John got a very good job, and was earning more money if anything"? It would then be "an objective judgement based on observation rather than proven fact," wouldn't it?

    Nyggus


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    #7

    Re: If anything

    Hi,
    A.S.Hornby, Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English.
    Yeah, a rather elusive phrase. I'd also like some more examples. Pity I still can't manage to get to the BNC - there'd be quite a few, I guess.

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    #8

    Re: If anything

    Could "if anything" not be replaced by "at least" in that sentence?

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    #9

    Re: If anything

    I would wish I were English 'if anything'. In this context it means if I were to wish for anything, it would be to be English. Could it be that George Orwell meant to say " if there was anything more, the pigs were infact putting on weight"?

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    #10

    Re: If anything

    "John got a very good job, and was earning more money if anything"? It would then be "an objective judgement based on observation rather than proven fact," wouldn't it?
    This sentence is OK I think.

    I would understand it like this:

    Among other possible benefits the job probably offered, he was certainly earning good money.

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