If It Weren’t For | Idiomatic Expressions With If

If ever

This expression is used for suggesting that a particular description fits someone or something.

  • My husband is a real movie buff if ever there was one. He knows almost everything about movies and movie stars.
  • If ever a teacher deserved this award, Mrs. Betty is the one. (= Mrs. Betty is the most deserving candidate for this award.)

If it were not for

This expression is used to suggest that one particular person or situation changes everything.

  • If it weren’t for my kids, I wouldn’t have anything to hope for.
  • If it weren’t for the two coast guards, she would probably have drowned. (= The coast guards changed the situation. If they weren’t there, she would probably have drowned.)

To talk about the past we use, if it had not been for.

  • If it hadn’t been for your help, I don’t know how I’d have coped.

If I were you

This structure is used when giving someone advice.

  • If I were you, I wouldn’t miss that opportunity. (This is an indirect way of suggesting that the listener shouldn’t miss that opportunity.)
  • If I were you, I wouldn’t waste 1000 bucks on that car.

If only

This structure is used to say that we would like things to be different. Note the use of past tense after if only.

  • If only we were rich.
  • If only I spoke better English.
  • If only she knew how much I love her.

What if…?

This structure is used for asking what would happen in a particular situation.

  • What if she didn’t like the proposal?
  • What if we just cancel the trip?

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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