if only> to fortify herself

longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi
Here are some sentences from Lady Chatterley's Lover(the last paraghaph but one):http://www.putclub.com/book/1/23-672-di01zhang.html

"And sex was merely an accident, or an adjunct, one of the curious obsolete, processes which persisted in its own clumsiness, but was not really necessary. Though Connie did want children: if only to fortify her against her sister-in-law Emma."

What does "if only to" mean please? I have looked for the anser from other similar threads, but I'm still confused.

Thank you in advance
 
  • bennymix

    Senior Member
    Connie did not want children, a main reason being to protect herself {or guard herself} from her sister-in-law.
    "if only to" expresses an objective and suggest that may be the main or primary one.

    Example: I will join the army if only to see the world, as the posters say.

    In other words, I'm not mainly interested in serving my country, or in learning weapons, or acquiring discipline, but only in seeing foreign lands while on assignment.

    ADDED: I misread the text, it appears, as to Connie. See Giorgio and EStjarn below. The meaning of 'if only' is not affected.
     
    Last edited:

    Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hullo.

    Just for the record, the original goes

    "And sex was merely an accident, or an adjunct, one of the curious obsolete, organic processes which persisted in its own clumsiness, but was not really necessary. Though Connie did want children: if only to fortify her against her sister-in-law Emma."(italics mine)

    GS :)
     

    EStjarn

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    It seems I see this slightly differently from benny.

    First, I understand the phrase is not 'if only to', but 'if only', the 'to' being an infinitive marker, not a preposition.

    I think the definition of 'if only' by Oxford Dictionaries is spot on: "even if for no other reason than."

    Connie did want children, even if for no other reason than to fortify her against her sister-in-law.

    'If only' does not exclude the possibility of there being other reasons. It only states that the mentioned reason would by itself be sufficient.
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    Point taken, EStjarn. "if only" is the unit. I was following the grouping suggested by the thread title and OP, which does not help the analysis.


    It seems I see this slightly differently from benny.

    First, I understand the phrase is not 'if only to', but 'if only', the 'to' being an infinitive marker, not a preposition.

    I think the definition of 'if only' by Oxford Dictionaries is spot on: "even if for no other reason than."

    Connie did want children, even if for no other reason than to fortify her against her sister-in-law.

    'If only' does not exclude the possibility of there being other reasons. It only states that the mentioned reason would by itself be sufficient.
     
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