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QUESTION: Hi Amy,
Would you please make this sentence simpler for me? I don't get it.

"He didít want war; if only because he did not trust his nerves not to give way under the strain of any really critical situation".


"if only" is a bit confusing for me here.

ANSWER: Hi Azad,

"If only" here means "even if for no other reason than"

So rewriting the sentence above:

He didn't want war, even if for no other reason than the fact that he didn't trust his nerves not to give in under pressure.

Please let me know if this answers your question.

Best,

~Amy

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks,
Can I say "He didn't want war, not only because he knew that he couldn't tolerate the pressure"?

Answer
You can, but that's an incomplete sentence.

To make it complete you'd have to say something like this:

He didn't want war, not only because he knew that he couldn't tolerate the pressure, but also because...

If you remove "not only" then the sentence would be OK:

He didn't want war because he knew that he couldn't tolerate the pressure.  

English as a Second Language

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Amy Baker

Expertise

I can answer question about grammar, spelling, syntax, idioms, reading and/or writing that pertain to English as a Second Language. I am knowledgeable about both TOEFL and IELTS.

Experience

I'm a certified ESL teacher with 12 years of experience teaching K-12 and adults.

Education/Credentials
BSc MEd TESL post grad program for k-12 TESL post grad program for adult ed

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