Does the verb "improve" need "s" in this sentence? And is this sentence correct at all?

"The stability persists if not improve."

  • 2
    The sentence is not correct at all, but without knowing the intention it is hard to say what it should be. – Weather Vane Jun 22 '19 at 18:10
  • What are you trying to express? (1) The stability will persist if not [actually] improve. (2) The stability will not persist unless improved. (3) The stability persists and [actually] improves. One of those or something else? – Jason Bassford Jun 22 '19 at 19:22
  • I saw the sentence in a writing described as band 7 IELTS. the full sentence was "Tourism helps more money circulates within the country and even the stability of their currency rate of exchange persists if not improve". I guess meaning number 3 is intended if I have understood your three sentences' meaning! I am sure that I do not intend meaning number 2 (The stability will not persist unless improved) – N SH Jun 24 '19 at 5:23

It does need 's,' because the verb "improves" describes the singular noun "stability". It would also be advisable to add a comma for clarity.

The stability persists, if not improves.

This sentence is acceptable, but awkward in construction; a native speaker might say it, but it wouldn't be good writing. Note that the only reason the sentence works at all is that the idiom "if not" cannot be broken up or rephrased: according to the usual rules of grammar, the sentence must be "The stability persists if it doesn't improve," but this carries a different meaning. A construction that requires rules to be broken in order to make sense is less than ideal, so it would be better to find a different way to say it.

I'd give a suggestion, but unfortunately there is no particularly better way to say exactly the same thing without having further context.

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