MSA : ولو


Senior Member
hi, I checked the previous threads appearing at bottom line when I tried to oppen but I could not find a suitable response.
as I lately have learnt the conditional sentences , in normal case this particle should mean "even if" as someone also stated at other threads.
furthermore, I also know that لو conditional particle is used for contrary to fact conditions. This means or I understand that the conditional clause cannot be translated within "present tense" in English.
but the source I follow does this, so why or how does this happen?
  • ok. find a sample here : D: The Conditional

    لن اتكلم معه ولو توسّل اليَّ. the provided translation :​


    You're right that لو generally expresses contrary-to-fact conditions, which are usually expressed in English using a past form. But it also has a separate usage which corresponds to the English use of 'even if'.

    Turkish, of course, can use more or less the same structure for both: öyle birşey yapsa 'if he did that' versus öyle birşey yapsa da 'even if he does that'.

    But although the two Arabic structures are the same, and so are their Turkish equivalents, they are different from one another in English. 'Even if' often works, in English, like the 'first conditional' if. It is not necessarily followed by a past tense, although it can be.
    @analeeh , may I ask one more question here in order to better internalize the detail.

    do you mean "even if" here is used like "even, if" in the sentence?
    to my knowledge , even if can be translated into Turkish as "olsa bile" . bile functions here as to create full understanding of contrary to the fact condition.(so, if you ask to me , this is required) (by "bile" here we strongly understand that the case of condition still has not happened (but is (weak) potential).

    but here, to my knowledge in Arabic when, لو used , it is not "olsa bile" it is (to my personal understanding,maybe) "olsaydı bile"
    this means that the condition mentioned here is in the past so, we totally understand that it has never happened and won't happen.
    لو is not only used for what we sometimes call 'past counterfactuals' (-saydı). It's also used for simple hypotheticals (-sa).

    Similarly, when used to mean 'even if', it can correspond to -sa bile or -saydı bile.

    But when we come to translate لو structures into English, the options are different.

    If it's a past (impossible) counterfactual, we use the pluperfect: 'if he had done X'.

    If it's a hypothetical, we use the past: 'if he did X'.

    If it expresses 'even if', we can use any form, depending on the meaning: 'even if he comes tomorrow' (yarin gelse de/gelse bile). This is where the problem arises for a native speaker of Arabic or Turkish.