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Could you please suggest me the usage of "even if" in the English sentence? For example, is the following statement correct grammatically?

Even if this approach scale for a large number of similar nodes, it is impractical for large scale heterogeneous system.

Please correct my punctuation errors also. In my opinion, the above sentence should be written the following way.

Even if, this approach scale for a large number of similar nodes, it is impractical for large scale heterogeneous system.

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Are you asking only about punctuation or do you have some doubts about a sentence should be structured if it involves "even if"? –  leoger Dec 28 '12 at 22:47
    
This seems like proofreading, which is off-topic. If it's not, then it's not clear exactly what your question is. –  Lynn Dec 28 '12 at 22:52
    
I'm closevoting as Off Topic (proofreading), because both the sentences contain multiple basic errors that would inevitably have to be addressed by any "reasonable" answer. –  FumbleFingers Dec 28 '12 at 23:30
    
Both are incorrect. As has been pointed out, there is no comma intonation after even if, just as there is none after if. And it should be this approach scales, because the verb in the clause is in third person singular present form, and that takes -s. –  John Lawler Dec 29 '12 at 0:27
    
@JohnLawler Long ago and far away, this was perfectly legal: it brooked no -s. However, even if it be a legal form in the mouths of our ancestors, the present subjunctive just doesn’t get used in even if clauses in the 21st century (outside of the rare legal document). –  tchrist Dec 29 '12 at 0:33
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closed as not a real question by Lynn, MετάEd, FumbleFingers, tchrist, John Lawler Dec 29 '12 at 0:27

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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The first one is closer to being correct than the second one. Here is the correct version, assuming I'm interpreting the meaning correctly:

Even if this approach scales for a large number of similar nodes, it is impractical for a heterogeneous system.

There were a couple errors in your first sentence:

  1. The first use of the word scale should be plural, since the object which is performing the action is singular. If the sentence read "these approaches[...]" rather than "this approach [...]", scale would have been correct.
  2. You missed the letter a before "heterogenous system". You probably just accidentally left it out, but just in case you didn't, the word a is placed before a singular noun, usually when referring to a general, arbitrary example of something.

Now, on to your actual question -- "Even if" shouldn't be separated from the rest of the clause with a comma. A comma typically implies the end of a clause. "Even if", in this case, is a qualifier for the rest of the clause ("this approach scales well for a large number of similar nodes"), which means that it gives additional meaning to the clause. Because of that, it should not be separated.

This was a bit of a tricky question to answer. It's really just one of those phrases that you have to just hear a few times and let it become natural.

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You don’t want the comma after “Even if”, and the sentence has a couple of other minor errors. Try something like the following:

Even if this approach scales for a large number of similar nodes, it is impractical for a large scale, heterogeneous system.

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I appreciate that you're correcting the entire sentence, as opposed to answering only the question as stated by the OP, but leoger's answer is a valid and correct answer to the question as stated, so it would be better to spell that out instead of just saying "leoger is wrong". (Also, the +1 comment should really be a comment or an upvote when you get the rep, not a part of your own answer.) Thanks for answering, though, and welcome to the site! –  Hellion Dec 28 '12 at 23:19
    
Cheers Hellion. I'll take your points on board. Thanks. –  Carl Smith Dec 28 '12 at 23:21
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The first usage is correct. It sounds natural and the punctuation is in correct places.

The second sentence does not use the comma placement correctly.

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This is incorrect. There are two punctuation errors in the first sentence. In addition, this answer would have been insufficient even if it had been correct, since you didn't provide any additional information or insight. –  Phillip Schmidt Dec 28 '12 at 22:56
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