Friday, December 14, 2007

The If Question

Miles asked me, "What's the opposite of If?"

Since I did not know what to say, I thought I'd ask readers of my blog for suggestions. What is your answer?


hebegeebee said...

If not?

Anonymous said...

After several minutes of thinking about this,
I haven't found a satisfying one-word answer

I agree with Geoff that 'if not' is a good
candidate for an answer, but I'm not fully
satisfied with it ... Perhaps the ? at the
end of Geoff's comment means that HE
isn't fully satisfied with it either :D))

IMO the 'best' answer(s) will need to
convey/imply certainty (as opposed to
the completely conditional quality of "if").

I will 'hmmmm' about this one some more!

-- dhsh

Anonymous said...

Tell Miles his great-grandmother
says 'certainly' does the job ...

-- ehh

Anonymous said...

How about SINCE ??

What I like about this answer is that
it behaves just like IF, in everyday
sentence structure.

-- dhsh

Bruce Loebrich said...

"Unless" might work. Like "if not", it reverses the condition. While this reversal could be considerd an opposite, in my mind it is actually just another way to say the same thing. "If >" becomes "unless <=".

"Because" (or as dhsh mentioned, "since") could be thought of as reversing directionality (or possibly causality). "If A, B" becomes "B since A" (or "B because A"). Like "unless", it still seems to contain a conditional element however. It might not even be a reversal at all (just a juxtaposition of A and B) as the condition itself still flows the same way (B is a result of A no matter how it is stated).

"Whether or not" seems more like an opposite than either "unless" or "because" to me. It eliminates the conditional element (B no longer requires A), but I can't think of a way to say it using just one word (although this is not explicitly stated as a requirement).

Andrew Shields said...

I'm going to show all these responses to Miles and see what he thinks!

Andrew Shields said...

Miles likes SINCE / BECAUSE best.

Bruce Loebrich said...

I'm happy to read about Miles' decision. Hopefully I will stop thinking about it now that I know.

I was starting to doubt the existence of an opposite of "if". When A if B makes sense, but when A whether or not B, I'm normally just going to say A (why bother with B at all).

Andrew Shields said...

Bruce, I am glad that you recognize that Miles is the authority on the issue! :-)

I hope thinking about it did not make you insomniac!