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The only thing that could change my father's prediction is if Natasha ran away with me.

What does if mean in this sentence? Would it be correct if I used “whether” or “that” instead of “if” here?

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    Strictly, The only thing that could change my father's prediction would be if Natasha ran away with me. OR The only thing that can change my father's prediction is if Natasha runs away with me. Dec 21 '20 at 12:27
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You can't use "whether" in place of "if" as your sentence is written, as that is used with alternative conditions, and your sentence does not contain an alternative condition. You could write:

My father's prediction would depend on whether Natasha ran away with me or not.

You can't use "that", as this would present it as a fact that happened, and your example is talking about a hypothetical future event.

"If" is the correct conjunction to indicate something conditional, but if you really wanted to write the sentence without "if" you could instead say:

The only thing that could change my father's prediction is Natasha running away with me.

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You could understand your sentence in this way:

The fact/possibility/eventuality that Natasha would run away with me is the only thing that could change my father's prediction.

To simplify, it is a case of 2nd conditional:

If Natasha ran away with me// my father's prediction would change.

Here I have omitted the phrase the only thing so that the structure of the sentence be more obvious.

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