Which one is better in the following sentence? I think I can use both.

[Even though/Even if] we wear fashionable clothes, we can't be truly beautiful without good manners.

  • 2
    Better, may depend on what you intend to say, “Even though/Even if” are not synonymous. – ugajin May 11 '17 at 13:16
  • 1
    'Even though we wear fashionable clothes ...' would nowadays always have the assumed meaning 'Despite the fact that we wear fashionable clothes ...'. – Edwin Ashworth May 11 '17 at 13:20
  • @rhetorician I don't like your rewrite here, and reject the implications of 'better'. I wish to retain the tensed form of 'wear'; the ing-form is not abrupt enough. . The fact that 'the fact that' is overused doesn't give people free rein to proscribe the expression. – Edwin Ashworth May 11 '17 at 22:24
  • @EdwinAshworth: Believe me, I intended no offense. Moreover (and forgive my pickiness), I did not "rewrite" your suggestion; I simply offered an alternative which I happen to prefer. Your version is perfectly acceptable. I'm not proscribing the use of "the fact that"; rather, I'm simply expressing my opinion about its overuse. Perhaps we can just agree to disagree agreeably, if you're agreeable. BTW, I'll delete my comment. No hard feelings? Don – rhetorician May 13 '17 at 0:28
  • @Don I'm very much in agreement with getting rid of a lot of bloat, and don't use 'despite the fact that' at all frequently. I felt it was needed here in the standalone paraphrase; the participle rewrite ('rewrite' merely a technical term) is more elegant in almost all cases. Though it can be ambiguous ('though wearing' = 'though they are/were wearing' or 'though they do wear'?). – Edwin Ashworth May 13 '17 at 8:03

I agree: you can use either. But they seem to say slightly different things.

If you're speaking about people who always wear fashionable clothes, and you take for granted that they do so, you would say that even though they wear fashionable clothes, they can't be truly beautiful without good manners.

If you don't take that for granted, but you think that they might wear fashionable clothes or they might do something else, then you would say that even if they do wear fashionable clothes, they can't be truly beautiful without good manners.

  • Now I clearly understand the difference thanks to your explanation. Thank you, Chaim. – Lifeispicnic May 11 '17 at 15:17

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