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Hi teachers!

The sentence below is from a grammar book I study. The book say 'even if' cannot be replaced by 'if. However I have known that 'if' itself has the same mening as 'even if' like in #2. Then why is the #3 incorrect?


1. Even if they understand the words, they may not understand why the joke is funny.

2. He is a good driver if a little overconfident.

3. If they understand the wirds, they may not understand why the joke is funny.


As always thank you so much!

Comments  

3 is not right, and furthermore, it doesn't have the same meaning as 1. 1 means that they might have a good understanding of the words of a joke, but nevertheless, they might not understand the joke at all. This is very common even with native English speakers. You sometimes hear a native speaker say: "I don't get it.", after hearing a joke. This means that all of the words he just heard are understandable, but he doesn't see why they are funny.


3 means: because they understand the words of a joke, the result of this may be that they don't understand why the joke is funny - that is, understanding of the words of a joke may cause them to not see why the joke is funny. This is not right. They don't understand the joke because they don't see the meaning behind the words, not because they don't know the meaning of the words - they do know the meaning of all the words.


2 is a special case. "If" here means "even if". But this construction, "if a little overconfident", is idiomatic, and does not follow grammatical rules.