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Linking Sentences to Express Conditions

I suggested some time ago that we shall work on linking sentences to express conditions, both positive and negative. For those of you who haven’t received these lessons from the very beginning, the abbreviations we’re using here stand for: [Co] = coordination; [Sub] – subordination; [Ad] = adverbial link.

You can find more information about these and how to use them in the lesson on Linking Sentences, Clauses and Phrases. Here you will find some easy ways of linking your sentences which not many people use in daily life. It would be an improvement in your English, if you started to actively use these expressions – trust me!

Positive condition

Would you have thought that the conjunction and can express a condition? OK, only in some contexts, such as commanding and advising, as follows:

[Co] [Take this medicine], and [(then) you’ll feel better.]
[Sub] If you take this medicine],[ you’ll feel better.]
[Ad] [You ought to take your medicine regularly, as the doctor ordered.] [You’d feel better, then.]

Negative condition

The conjunction or functions just like the coordinating and from above, but it expresses a negative condition:

[Co] [You’d better drive more sensibly on the road], [or (else) you’ll run the risk of provoking an accident.]
[Sub] [Unless you drive sensibly], [you’ll provoke an accident.]
[Ad] [I should drive more carefully if I were you]; [otherwise you’ll provoke an accident.]

Condition + contrast

[Sub] [However much advice we give him], [he (still) does exactly what he wants.]
[Ad] [It doesn’t matter how much advice we give him], [he (still) does exactly what he wants] Note that coordination alone cannot indicate condition + contrast.

The idea of condition (if) and implied contrast (even) is expressed by the conjunction even if:

[He keeps going for a jog every morning], [even if the weather is rough.] (You wouldn’t expect him to go jogging in rough weather, but he does.)

The meaning of even if is sometimes conveyed by if alone, or if… (at least):

[If nothing else], [(at least) two good things came out of their separation.] (even if nothing else came out of their separation…)

Even if expresses the same contrastive meaning in hypothetical conditions (conditions that are just in the imagination, they’re not part of the actual, real life):
[She wouldn’t marry him], [even if he begged her into marriage.]

Alternative conditions

Alternative conditions, implying the meaning ‘contrary to expectation’

This is expressed by the conjunction whether… or, or whatever:
[Whether we win or lose], [the match will be enjoyable.] (If we win, or even if we lose…)

Now, from the 'wh-' words ‘what’, ‘who’ and ‘when’, ‘where’ we get a similar meaning if we add ’ever’ , giving us whatever, whoever, whenever and wherever:

[Wherever he goes], [he makes friends.] .
[He will be in favour of the winner], [whoever he may happen to be.]

What we’re saying here is that the statement in the main clause is true on any of the conditions covered by the subclause. Again, the contrasting meaning is present, as the sentence implies that ‘he will favour the winner, even if that winner will be someone who is rather unpopular’.

The same meaning can be expressed by an adverbial clause beginning with 'no matter wh-': [He’ll favour the winner], [no matter who he may be.]

Two general adverbials with this type of meaning are anyway and in any case (=’whatever the circumstances’):

[He doesn’t know who the winner will be], but [he’ll favour him anyway/in any case.]

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