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Thread: Even though vs. Even if

  1. #1
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    Even though vs. Even if

    Ciao Tempesta (widely used nick for people whose surname is "Tempestini" down here),

    puoi dirmi qual'è la differenza per te tra "even though" e "even if"?

    Grazie e ciao
    Please, correct my English, even the smallest mistake. That would be very kind of you

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    Re: Anche se non l'avete letto

    "Even if" implies that the speaker doesn't know whether you've read it or not. "Even though" is used when the speaker knows you did not read it.

    Elisabetta
    Va', pensiero, sull'ali dorate.

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    Re: Anche se non l'avete letto

    I think maybe this would explain it better:

    'even though' would imply that the person did not read the text.

    'even if' would imply that the person may or may not have read it.

    Sorry Trentina, did not see your post

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    Re: Anche se non l'avete letto

    I see.

    So, let's try:


    Anche se ==> even if
    Sebbene, nonostante ==> even though

    But I admit that colloquially:

    "Sebbene non abbiate studiato" can be said "Anche se non avete studiato"


    So the sentence "Anche se non avete studiato, vi perdono" could be translated both to "Even though you did not study, I forgive you" and "Even if you did not study, I forgive you".

    Actually before this post, this difference was not so clear in my mind. Probably this means that Italian is a bit tricky in this case.

    Am I right, native italian friends??

    P.S. Thinking harder, I think that when we mean "Even if" we stress a bit more the word "Anche"

    Quote Originally Posted by TrentinaNE View Post
    "Even if" implies that the speaker doesn't know whether you've read it or not. "Even though" is used when the speaker knows you did not read it.

    Elisabetta
    Last edited by effeundici; 19th February 2009 at 11:10 PM.
    Please, correct my English, even the smallest mistake. That would be very kind of you

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    Re: Anche se non l'avete letto

    I completely agree effe11, It's quite tricky. I never thought about it. I think one can spot the difference in the way the person says the words "anche se" and the context, too.

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    Re: Even though Vs Even if

    Quote Originally Posted by effeundici View Post
    Ciao Tempesta (widely used nick for people whose surname is "Tempestini" down here),

    puoi dirmi qual'è la differenza per te tra "even though" e "even if"?

    Grazie e ciao
    Grazie di nuovo. Mi chiamo Storm in realta ma il nome utente era gia preso.

    Quindi mi chiamo Tempesta.

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    Re: Even though vs. Even if

    That topic has been discussed HERE too from post #10...
    -Fermi o spariamo! -Okay, sparite.

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    Re: Anche se non l'avete letto

    Quote Originally Posted by effeundici View Post
    Anche se ==> even if
    Sebbene, nonostante ==> even though

    But I admit that colloquially:

    "Sebbene non abbiate studiato" can be said "Anche se non avete studiato"

    So the sentence "Anche se non avete studiato, vi perdono" could be translated both to "Even though you did not study, I forgive you" and "Even if you did not study, I forgive you".
    effeundici, the distinction is so subtle for your specific example. Both ‘even if’ and ‘even though’ can be synonyms for ‘despite the fact that’ (nonostante, literally ‘notwithstanding’).

    "Even though you did not study, I forgive you." = Despite the fact that you did not study, I forgive you.

    "Even if you did not study, I forgive you.” = Despite the possiblity that you did not study, I forgive you.

    In terms of nuance, I’d say that ‘even if’ is more charitable than ‘even though’. My forgiveness is not conditioned on your studying. I forgive you unconditionally. The forgiveness is more grudging with ‘even though’, I think. And of course, there are other distinctions as already pointed out by Trentina in post #2 and in the post Necsus linked to.

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    Re: Anche se non l'avete letto

    Ciao,

    so, given this:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/le...rnitv122.shtml

    it seems to me that you too are slightly forgetting this distinction; isn't it?

    Quote Originally Posted by wonderment View Post
    effeundici, the distinction is so subtle for your specific example. Both ‘even if’ and ‘even though’ can be synonyms for ‘despite the fact that’ (nonostante, literally ‘notwithstanding’).

    "Even though you did not study, I forgive you." = Despite the fact that you did not study, I forgive you.

    "Even if you did not study, I forgive you.” = Despite the possiblity that you did not study, I forgive you.

    In terms of nuance, I’d say that ‘even if’ is more charitable than ‘even though’. My forgiveness is not conditioned on your studying. I forgive you unconditionally. The forgiveness is more grudging with ‘even though’, I think. And of course, there are other distinctions as already pointed out by Trentina in post #2 and in the post Necsus linked to.
    Please, correct my English, even the smallest mistake. That would be very kind of you

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    Re: Even though vs. Even if

    Search "Even if" for another thread on this subject.

    Sorry, here it is!
    Last edited by Einstein; 20th February 2009 at 10:09 AM.

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    Re: Even though vs. Even if

    This is another irritation I have with this language. Even if and even though express different ideas. This subtlety is lost with 'anche se'.

    I think I'll use 'anche se' for 'even if' and the others that take subjunctive for 'even though'. I'll see how that works.

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    Re: Even though vs. Even if

    If you look here you'll see that in Italian the difference is clear from the verb forms used. The problem is more for Italians in deciding whether to use "even if" or "even though" in English.

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    Re: Even though vs. Even if

    I agree with Einstein (in the other thread), Elisabetta, et al., that even if implies uncertainty (or a hypothesis) and even though/although implies certainty, but I also have to agree with wonderment that there exists a separate, very subtle difference in meaning that even if can have.

    It's used even when there is certainty--even though, as said above, even if should imply uncertainty--in order to minimize the effect/impact that the implication of certainty would have on what was being said.

    Let me rephrase: it's a way of not sounding so certain, so as to lighten the blow.

    Example: a wife accidentally sells away one of her husband's records at a garage sale:

    Husband: Look, don't worry about it, I forgive you.... even if it WAS my favorite record...

    Stress on "was." And the sentence kind of trails off, but it's complete. If he had said "even though/although," it might invite a response from the wife.
    "I don't give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way."

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    Re: Even though vs. Even if

    Yes, I agree with Brian that in some cases "even if" can be used where the rules given here suggest "although". Probably the psychology behind it is to soften the "although" with a note of uncertainty, even if in reality we are certain.

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    Re: Even though vs. Even if

    Quote Originally Posted by Einstein View Post
    [...] even if in reality we are certain.
    Couldn't have said it better!
    "I don't give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way."

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    Re: Anche se non l'avete letto

    Quote Originally Posted by effeundici View Post
    Ciao,
    so, given this:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/le...rnitv122.shtml
    it seems to me that you too are slightly forgetting this distinction; isn't it?
    I didn’t forget This BBC webpage, unfortunately only discusses half the meaning of ‘even if’ and blithely ignores the other half.

    ‘even if’ has two possible meanings:
    1. despite the possibility that; whether or not:
    Even if he had not studied, he could still pass the easy exam.
    ('even if' indicates a hypothetical)

    2. despite the fact that; although:
    She enjoys reading Shakespeare, even if it’s difficult.
    (I have no problem using sebbene or nonostante to translate ‘even if’ here)
    The BBC webpage deals only with meaning #1. Their examples are skewed to show only this meaning, but I’ll add a third example to show that meaning #2 is also possible:
    1. Even though I've cleaned it and polished it, it still doesn't look new.
    2. Even if I clean and polish it, it still won't look new.
    These examples are not interchangeable. The second is a hypothetical.
    3. Even if I’ve cleaned and polished it, it still doesn’t look new.
    (Here, ‘even if’ can be interchangeable with ‘even though’)

    1. Even though he lost his job as Arts Minister, he continued to serve in the government.
    2. Even if he loses his job as Arts Minister, I think he'll continue to serve in the government.
    These examples are not interchangeable. The second is a hypothetical.
    3. Even if he lost his job as Arts Minister, he continued to serve in the government.
    (Here, ‘even if’ can be interchangeable with ‘even though’)

    Anyway, effeundici, the example that you gave ("Even if you did not study, I forgive you.") seems to me closer to definition #2; in this case, 'even if' can be interchangeable with 'even though'. A hypothetical would look more like this: "Even if you had not study, I would forgive you."

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    Re: Even though vs. Even if

    This is a really difficult subtlety to understand, especially because there are a lot of cases where even if sounds bad and you should definitely say even though. I find it hard to explain when it works and when it doesn't, so I would definitely encourage non-natives to always use even though to mean "despite the fact that" and even if to mean "even in the case that."
    "I don't give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way."

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    Re: Even though vs. Even if

    Ciao Wonderment,

    I meant "you are forgetting" as english speaking people, actually.

    But I'm even more convinced now. You say that :

    3. Even if he lost his job as Arts Minister, he continued to serve in the government.
    (Here, ‘even if’ can be interchangeable with ‘even though’)

    So the situation is the same as in Italian. You can use "sebbene" and everything is clear; but you can use "anche se" too and everything gets confused. Am I right or not?
    Please, correct my English, even the smallest mistake. That would be very kind of you

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    Re: Even though vs. Even if

    Quote Originally Posted by effeundici View Post
    So the situation is the same as in Italian. You can use "sebbene" and everything is clear; but you can use "anche se" too and everything gets confused. Am I right or not?
    No, it's not the same, and please don't think it is!

    The whole reason Einstein opened that other thread is that Italians continue to say "even if" (where in Italian they'd say "anche se") and it continues to sound unnatural and non-native.

    There are some cases in which you can say "even if"--but not always--and honestly I cannot think of a rule for when and when you can't.

    That's why I said above that it's best to always say "even though" or "although" when the meaning is "sebbene" because 1) it will always be correct, and 2) it does not sound as formal as "sebbene" in Italian; it sounds perfectly natural and colloquial.
    "I don't give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way."

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    Re: Even though vs. Even if

    Quote Originally Posted by effeundici View Post
    3. Even if he lost his job as Arts Minister, he continued to serve in the government.
    (Here, ‘even if’ can be interchangeable with ‘even though’)

    So the situation is the same as in Italian. You can use "sebbene" and everything is clear; but you can use "anche se" too and everything gets confused. Am I right or not?
    Hi again, effeundici! Yes, I would agree with you. In English, if you use 'although' the meaning is clear, but only by context can you determine if 'even if' means 'whether or not' or 'although'. And I'd like to emphasize again that 'even if' actually has two possible meanings (definition with examples in post #16), just like 'anche se' (if I understand you correctly).

    In general, I think it's safe when translating 'anche se' from Italian to English to use 'even though' if in context 'anche se' also means 'sebbene' (as in your example: "Anche se non avete studiato, vi perdono." = "Even though you did not study, I forgive you.") If 'anche se' does not mean 'sebbene' in the Italian context, then use 'even if'. (I could be wrong, so feel free to correct me.)

    ------
    EDIT add: example from Einstein's thread...

    Although Paul is able to swim, he's afraid to do it in the ocean.

    Sebbene Paul sappia nuotare, ha paura di farlo nell'oceano. (Correct version with sebbene and subjunctive)
    Anche se Paul sa nuotare, ha paura di farlo nell'oceano. (Colloquial version with anche se and indicative)
    "Paul is afraid to swim in the ocean, even if he is able to swim."

    The meaning is perfectly clear if one uses 'although' to translate 'sebbene'. But I see nothing wrong with using 'even if' here in place of 'although'. This is like the example: "She enjoys reading Shakespeare even if it's difficult." 'even if' does not necessarily introduce a hypothetical (i.e 'whether or not'/'anche nel caso che'). Meaning is context dependent.
    Last edited by wonderment; 21st February 2009 at 9:06 AM. Reason: add example

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