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  1. enydia's Avatar

    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 414
    #1

    if at all

    Hello, Teachers.

    How to understand the phrase 'if at all'?

    Here are some examples:
    1. When symptoms are necrotic, never wait untill necrosis is widespread or hardly any virus will be extracted, if at all.
    2. Read it, if at all, on the sly, to look for their names.
    3. What good does stretching the limits serve, if at all?
    4. Words like 'love', 'tenderness', 'romance' and 'passion' appear seldom, if at all.
    5. Tell me when you're coming up, if at all.

    Thank you in advance.

    Enydia ^_^

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

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,091
    #2

    Re: if at all

    Quote Originally Posted by enydia View Post
    Hello, Teachers.

    How to understand the phrase 'if at all'?

    Here are some examples:
    1. When symptoms are necrotic, never wait untill necrosis is widespread or hardly any virus will be extracted, if any at all.
    2. Read it, if at all, on the sly, to look for their names.
    3. What good does stretching the limits serve, if any at all?
    4. Words like 'love', 'tenderness', 'romance' and 'passion' appear seldom, if at all.
    5. Tell me when you're coming up, if at all.

    Thank you in advance.

    Enydia ^_^
    Hi enydia.
    1. means if you do extract any virus (at all), you will only get a small amount. (hardly any).
    2. If you do read it, do it on the sly.
    3. If stretching the limits serves any purpose at all, what is it? (the purpose).
    4. If these words appear at all, they do so seldom.
    5. If you are going to come at all, tell me first.

    In all of these cases, there is doubt about whether the action (in the first clause) is even going to happen (at all). But if it does happen, then ... the second clause.

  3. enydia's Avatar

    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 414
    #3

    Re: if at all

    Thank you for your explanations, Teacher Raymott.

    5. If you are going to come at all, tell me first.
    [I only saw 'at all' in negative sentences or questions. Can it be used in if-clauses? What does 'at all' mean here?]


    According to your explanation, it seems that 'if at all' is similar to 'if at all possible' or 'if possible' or 'if ever', isn't it?
    Last edited by enydia; 14-Sep-2008 at 08:29.

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,091
    #4

    Re: if at all

    Quote Originally Posted by enydia View Post
    Thank you for your explanations, Teacher Raymott.

    5. If you are going to come at all, tell me first.
    [I only saw 'at all' in negative sentences or questions. Can it be used in if-clauses? What does 'at all' mean here?]


    According to your explanation, it seems that 'if at all' is similar to 'if at all possible' or 'if possible' or 'if ever', isn't it?
    "If ever" comes closest. It's an intensifier.
    It means "if ever" in positive sentences.
    "If you're going to do it at all, do it properly". Yes, this could mean "If you ever do it, do it properly".

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