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I've tried to figure out the difference between "if" and "even if". My reasoning is as follows. Do I correctly understand?

  1. Even if your partner were a saint, he would not accept your proposal.

=Even your partner is a saint. Regardless of it, he doesn’t accept your proposal.

or

=Even your partner will be a saint. Regardless of it, he will not accept your proposal.

.

  1. Even if you had not seen the message, you could have imagined what it meant.

=Even you didn't see the message. In spite of it, you imagined what it meant.

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The reason why I thought as above is because of the following.

When "If" is used in second type conditional, If clause has an unreal or hypothetical condition/situation, and a main clause is a possible result from if clause. It is kind of < cause-and-effect relationship >.

No condition in If clause take places and then no result in the main clause follows.

e.g.)

If I had a partner, I would go to a dancing party.

=I don't/will not have any partner, and I cannot go to a dancing party.

However, “even if” is a condition but is not one relevant to a main clause. They are NOT < cause-and-effect relationship.>.

Even if clause doesn't impact on a content of a main clause. The under-written "even if clause + main cause" can be paraphrased like these with indicative moods.

  1. Even if your partner were a saint, he would not accept your proposal.

=Even you are partner are a saint. Regardless of it, he doesn't accept your proposal.

.

  1. Even if you had not seen the message, you could have imagined what it meant.

=Even you didn't see the message. In spite of it, you imagined what it meant.

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It looks like you have an idea of the difference here, but it is hard to tell with some of the grammatical errors.

"Even if [condition], [clause]" means that--regardless of whether or not the condition is true--the clause will still be true/happen. It is often used with hypothetical conditions. "Even if" implies that the condition is not true.

E.G. "Even if your partner were a saint, he would not accept your proposal."

Can be paraphrased as "If your partner was magically turned into a saint, he would still refuse your proposal".

In this case, "your partner" is not a saint, and "even if" can be used because no matter the condition of sainthood, "your partner" will not accept the proposal.

"If [condition], [clause]" means that the clause will be true/happen if the condition is true. It does not imply that the condition is false or hypothetical.

E.G. "If I had a partner, I would go to a dancing party." Can be roughly paraphrased as "If I get a partner, I will go to the dancing party."

In this case, the speaker may find a partner and the clause may become true (i.e. he will go to the party), whereas "Even if I had a partner, I wouldn't go to the dancing party" would mean that the speaker will never go to the dancing partner, regardless of whether or not he gets a partner.

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  • Hi, 『Even if clause』 still has a hypothetical condition/situation. So I am sorry to tell you I don't think it is not true. Instead, the condition might be true or not, but in spite of it, a speaker still do something that he or she wants/thinks to do. Jan 21 at 11:01
  • Yeap, before expressing my opinion to you I don't want to get you mad. /// Anyway, when the past tense is used in "Even if" as you said, "Even if" clause implies the condition is hypothetical but unreal and improbable. However, I mean, when the present tense is used in "Even if" clause In that case, I cannot say this "Even if" clause implies the condition is unreal. Thus, I say generally, "Even if" clause let me consider check the context and the form of main clause following it. Jan 21 at 13:38
  • For example) 【Even if Mr. Tae is a good teacher, I will not take his class】: This "Even if" clause means that Mr. Tae is a really good teacher, Nevertheless in spite of this fact, I will not take his class. So the "Even if" clause can be understood under the indicative mood with present tense. Jan 21 at 13:48
  • On the other hand, For example) 【Even if Mr. Tae was a good teacher, I will not take his class】: This "Even if" clause means that Mr. Tae was a really good teacher. Nevertheless despite this fact, I will not take his class.. So the "Even if" clause can be understood under the indicative mood with past tense. Jan 21 at 13:48
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    "Although or Though or Even though Mr. Tae was a good teacher, I will not take his class." This makes perfect sense, but "Even if" would not work here.
    – maxbear123
    Jan 21 at 14:23
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"Even if" is a way to express a definiteness of an outcome. It is a way to say:

"In the scenario in which these things happen, they will still have no impact on the outcome" .

"Even if" can be used to refute an argument.

"If he were a saint, he would marry me!" - "No, he would not marry you, even if he were a saint"

"Even if" can be used to shift responsibility.

"He was drunk, that is why he crashed the car" - "No, because the pedal was broken, He would have still crashed the car, even if he were not drunk"

"If" expresses a basic conditional relationship that can be used in a number of ways and modified in other ways, such as "Even if".

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