Is "if at all" of the following understood as "(even) if the new law helps new immigrants at all"?

The new law will fail to help new immigrants significantly, if at all.

I'd appreciate your help.


What is ellipted in that concession is "if [the new law...helps them] at all".

With fails it is a little "off". But the polarity is

The new law will not help immigrants significantly, if it helps them at all.

Stylistically it would be clearer to write it that way, or like this:

The new law will offer immigrants little, if any, help.

  • What does 'concession' mean here? I didn't find a good definition for this use. – dan Jan 5 '19 at 3:49
  • @dan What I meant was that if it helps them at all concedes the possibility that the new law may not help them in any way whatsoever. concession is the noun form of the (Latin origin) verb concede, just as procession is the noun form of proceed, recession of recede, etc. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 5 '19 at 11:54
  • I don't feel like I understand "concedes the possibility" either. :( – dan Jan 5 '19 at 13:11
  • 1
    @dan: Perhaps different punctuation will help you. He won't understand much of what you said—if he understands any of it. The if-clause there accepts the possibility that nothing of what you said will make sense to him. The if-clause is NOT a conditional there as it is in She will be angry if you forget to pick her up at the station. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 5 '19 at 13:32

You are correct. The sentence means that the new law won't be able to help new immigrants a lot. Maybe it won't help them at all

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