--if there was ever any doubt--

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JungKim

Senior Member
Korean
Finally, I just spoke with Chancellor Merkel of Germany on the situation in Ukraine. We agree -- if there was ever any doubt -- that Russia is responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine. The violence is encouraged by Russia. The separatists are trained by Russia.
This is what President Obama said after he had learned of a recent Russian incursion into Ukraine.

I'd like to know what exactly the parenthetical portion (if there was ever any doubt) means.
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    We (Chancellor Merkel and I) agree -- of course we agree, but I'm telling you this in case you ever thought we might not agree -- that Russia is responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Thanks, Copyright.
    I find your explanation very clear and helpful.

    In this particular context, could he also have said the following?
    (1) if there were ever any doubt
    (2) if there is ever any doubt
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I would still with "was" in that statement, even though I use "were" in other cases. And the doubt is in the past if you're using "ever," so the present tense "is" isn't appropriate.

    Keep in mind that "if there was ever any doubt" is virtually a set phrase.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I would still with "was" in that statement, even though I use "were" in other cases. And the doubt is in the past if you're using "ever," so the present tense "is" isn't appropriate.

    Keep in mind that "if there was ever any doubt" is virtually a set phrase.
    Thanks!
    I didn't know it was a set phrase.
     
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