I found myself agreeing, if only for food.

Adam Cruge

Banned
India & Bengali
I was reading a story book, where I found these.

Context: I don't like to go to RGD's house. But RGD invited me to his house for lunch. Then this line follows.

So, when RGD asked me to his house for lunch I found myself agreeing, if only for food.

What the "if" doing there? It can mean pretty same without "if"? Does "if" bears any special meaning here?
 
  • b1947420

    Senior Member
    British English
    If (only / for no other reason) but food.
    The "if" expresses the motive of agreeing to the invitation leaving open the possibility (in the mind of the person being invited) that something else desirable could also come out of the visit.
    All in my opinion of course!
     

    mnestic

    Member
    English- US
    If (only / for no other reason) but food.
    The "if" expresses the motive of agreeing to the invitation leaving open the possibility (in the mind of the person being invited) that something else desirable could also come out of the visit.
    All in my opinion of course!

    This is a really good way of explaining it! I hadn't thought about how "if" implies not only "if only/for no other reason", but also leaves open the possibility of something more. Very true. :thumbsup:
     

    Adam Cruge

    Banned
    India & Bengali
    Thank you, this part is understood. But there are other examples, this following one is one of them.
    But as I sit, I know I must try to tell it, if for no other reason than to finally put this all behind me.

    So what is the use of "if" her and what is the meaning of this sentence?
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Just to address the original comments, it's never occurred to me that "if" suggests that there are additional possibilities. To me, "if only for the food" means "just for the food"... and for no other reason. Perhaps I'm unique in that interpretation;I don't know.
     

    camntx

    New Member
    American English
    Thank you, this part is understood. But there are other examples, this following one is one of them.


    So what is the use of "if" her and what is the meaning of this sentence?

    The phrase "if for no other reason" is used in a similar way in that sentence. It is a way of saying that that is the most critical reason for wanting "to tell it," but that there may be other reasons as well. As for the meaning of "to put this all behind me"... that idiom means to solve or end a problem or situation and to progress forward from it. You could say that a person "put all the problems behind himself and moved on." A similar phrase, in my opinion, is to "get over" something.
     

    b1947420

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thank you, this part is understood. But there are other examples, this following one is one of them.


    So what is the use of "if" her and what is the meaning of this sentence?

    The word "if" is used as a conjunction or noun. As a conjunction we can think in terms of "on the condition" or "in the event of" or "despite the possibility" but sometimes just as an intensifier for stylistic purposes.

    For a more comprehensive answer you need to research the word in modern useage for all the possibilities.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Just to address the original comments, it's never occurred to me that "if" suggests that there are additional possibilities. To me, "if only for the food" means "just for the food"... and for no other reason. Perhaps I'm unique in that interpretation;I don't know.

    I agree with you, in this context it certainly means JUST, or ONLY for the food because the speaker doesn't like the host and expects nothing much from the visit.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    And thus I think your second examples is the same: the speaker only expects one advantage from telling the tale, and this is to put he past behind him.

    These idiomatic phrases are very hard to pin down, as you can see, native speakers are far from unanimous about it!

    Good luck with your efforts!
     

    Adam Cruge

    Banned
    India & Bengali
    Well I understood all your comments. But after going through all these comments I am kind of confused. Actually I can't come up to a conclusion, as two answers was suggested. So what to do?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Just to address the original comments, it's never occurred to me that "if" suggests that there are additional possibilities. To me, "if only for the food" means "just for the food"... and for no other reason. Perhaps I'm unique in that interpretation;I don't know.
    I don't think you are, my fine furry friend. I understand it to mean the same.
     

    Adam Cruge

    Banned
    India & Bengali
    But as I sit, I know I must try to tell it, if for no other reason than to finally put this all behind me.
    if for no other reason than = only

    So, when RGD asked me to his house for lunch I found myself agreeing, if only for food.
    if only = only

    Am I right?
     

    Adam Cruge

    Banned
    India & Bengali
    One thing I want to ask here, what extra it adds to the sentence when we use "if" in those sentences to mean it like this way. I mean I could have the same meaning without "if" very well and plainly.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    One thing I want to ask here, what extra it adds to the sentence when we use "if" in those sentences to mean it like this way. I mean I could have the same meaning without "if" very well and plainly.
    Here's another way to think about it, Adam. I'm glad you're interested. I found myself agreeing for food and for no other reason. You're right. I didn't have to use "if" to say this. But I always like choices. Using "if" does make sense in the original statement. At least it does to me.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Thank you owlman, so it is a matter of choice.

    Absolutely, Adam. I just love having options. I generally try not to use any one of them too often. To me, using an expression all the time robs it of its power. I try to speak effectively when I choose to speak at all. I think you do, too.
     

    Adam Cruge

    Banned
    India & Bengali
    One more thing. I want to write my own sentence using such kind of usage of "if".
    It was if only for me you waited.

    I wanted to mean: "It was for me only you waited".
    Is this correct?
     
    Last edited:

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It was if only for me you waited.

    That sentence is not correct.
    If you look at the earlier examples you will see that the part before the "if only" is a complete statement:
    I found myself agreeing... if only for food.
    I know I must try to tell it... if only to finally put this all behind me.


    In your example the part before "if only" is:
    It was...

    Looking at the examples, it seems that "if only" can convey at least two slightly different meanings.
    ... Introducing your only reason for something, when others might expect there to be more. The original sentence suggests that meaning. Food was my only reason for agreeing and I expected nothing more.

    ... Introducing your principal reason for something, with the expectation that there might be more. In the slightly revised version of the "try to tell it" sentence I think there is a suggestion that putting this behind me is the main reason, but there are expectations of more.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Here, "if only" is equivalent to "although only".
    I only stopped for a moment.

    (Please don't post your examples as quotes. It means that if others quote your post your example sentence is not included.)
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Adam, what you say in your last sentence makes sense. I suggest one small change in the grammar here: "...and the feelings still make me stop whatever it is I am doing, if only for a moment, and I find myself drawn back in time.
     
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