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I can not read my book all at once. But I wish I could. If I could, I would do it.

Is "I would if I could read it all at once" correct?

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  • If we want to say that there's something unable to occur but we wish we could do it such as reading all the book at once as if we "swallow" it.. Is that possible?
    – user84199
    Oct 26 '18 at 9:08
  • I have edited your question to be specific. The downside is that this almost answers the question. And it shows you that avoiding complicated structures is usually a good idea (James says that differently in his answer: The purpose of punctuation is to make sentences like these less ambiguous)
    – user22427
    Oct 26 '18 at 12:28
  • What is meant is to convey that I love the book so much and very excited to read it all
    – user84199
    Oct 26 '18 at 13:26
  • In principle, I would if I could read it all at once is ambiguous, in that it could either mean that I would do something else [contextually identified] if I could read it all at once, OR that if I could read it all at once, that's what I'd do. And in the first case, that "something else" could actually be read the book (i.e. - I'm not going to read the book at all, because I would only do that if I was capable of reading it all at once, which I'm not). Feb 22 at 18:57
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Your example would be clearer with punctuation:

I would, if I could read it all at once.

Implied here is the action that would happen. You need some context.

Are you going to read the newspaper?
I would (read the newspaper), if I could read it all at once.

Alternatively, "if I could" might be an extra comment or parenthesis.

I would (if I could) read it all at once.

Which would mean "If I was able to read it all at once, I would read it all at once".

The purpose of punctuation is to make sentences like these less ambiguous. You should use punctuation!

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I think what you're trying to say is that if you were able to read the book all at once, you would do it. Therefore, "I would read it all at once if I could" would be correct. "I would if I could read it all at once" or "I would, if I could read it all at once (as in the above answer)" imply that you are not interested in reading the book at all unless you can read it all at once.

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