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I'm not a native English speaker. I was reading some article and it said:

"interesting, if flawed, concept".

What does "if flawed" mean in this sentence? Does it mean the concept is interesting and flawed (wrong?)? I can't quite understand.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 13 down vote accepted

It is the seventh sense of if as given in Oxford's Advanced Learner's Dictionary:

if 7: used before an adjective to introduce a contrast

He's a good driver, if a little over-confident.

We'll only do it once— if at all.

The author could have written of an interesting and flawed concept or a concept both interesting and flawed, but these expressions suggest a concept that is in equal parts interesting and flawed. On the other hand, interesting, if flawed suggests the author finds the concept primarily interesting, but its flawed aspects are significant enough to detract or distract from its interesting aspects.

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It could also be rewritten "interesting, yet flawed, concept". –  MrHen Dec 19 '13 at 20:08
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Or "interesting, although flawed, concept" , or "interesting, but flawed, concept" or "interesting, albeit flawed concept". Could also use ... "interesting concept, however flawed it might be." –  DWin Dec 19 '13 at 20:26
    
Well if we're going to play that game, don't forget the inverted alternatives: while flawed, interesting , even if flawed, interesting, notwithstanding its flaws, interesting and so on. –  choster Dec 20 '13 at 18:44
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Yes, it means that although the reader found the concept interesting, he or she also thinks that it may be wrong (flawed) in some areas.

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Per the Oxford dictionary for US English:

flawed :(of an imperfection) mar, weaken, or invalidate (something). The computer game was flawed by poor programming

So "interesting, if flawed, concept" means an interesting concept that has imperfections/faults/defects which mar, weaken or invalidate the concept.

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Welcome to ELU! :-) –  medica Dec 20 '13 at 5:25
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