3

If you can't love now, you're unable to love even later.

Is the whole sentence and the use of "even" is grammatical here?

4

"If you can't love now, you're unable to love even later."

The first problem (to me) is this entire aphorism doesn't even make sense; why couldn't someone fall in love in the future? Perhaps there's a translation issue and you intend one of these:

  1. If you can't love me now, you won't ever be able to love me. (The word "even" is redundant.)
  2. If you don't love me now, you'll never love me! (Shorter. This is more natural sounding.)
  3. If you don't love me by now, you'll never love me! So go find someone else and I'll do the same!

The other problems are (a) difficulty with constructing the future tense, (b) the use of the word "even", and (c) use of "later". Your sentence compares the current moment (now) with some unspecified "later". Your use of the word "even" sounds strange because it's being used for (at least) two of it's meanings, as follows:

  • *If you can't love now, you won't be able to love [also later-in-time than now | more-lateness-of-time than now].

We're going to drop the word "even", but first here's some ways "even" can be used:

  • You know he can't drive while drunk. But that's no surprise; he can't even drive sober. (This is the emphatic "also" meaning of "even".)
  • If you can't love me now, you won't be able to love me tonight at 9pm. And you won't be able to love me even later than that! (This is the idea of "even later" meaning more-lateness-of-time.)

Now it's also silly to talk about "later" because we're talking about "love" and presumably, "all of the future". So we have to drop the word "later" as well, and use a word like ever, never, always, forever, etc.

  • If you don't love me by now, you'll never love me!
  • If you don't love me by now, you won't ever love me!
  • If you don't love me by now, you won't love me ever! (Parallel construction of now/ever.)

This clearly depicts your original sentence's emphasis on the time of now vs. the future. "you will infinitive" is a future tense/aspect, so here "never" means "never in the future".

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1

The use of "even" does not make sense here. Even later refers so something in the distant future, compared to something in the near future. Your sentence doesn't mention anything in the near future, so you can't use "even".

"… you are unable to love later" is still problematic. English is a bit stricter about tense than most languages, and here you should use the future tense.

I would correct the sentence to be:

If you can't love now, you won't be able to love later either.

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  • Great. Thanks for the correction. "either" makes it sounds just perfect. What if alternatively I use "unable to" here? -- "If you can't love now, you're unable to love later either." – arm May 18 '14 at 13:07
  • That reintroduces the error in tense that I've corrected. – 200_success May 18 '14 at 15:34

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