One day Holmes and Watson are flying a dirigible balloon. It is foggy around, they have lost their way. Suddenly they see - a shepherd is grazing sheep below. The men are very glad and shout:
- The dear, tell us, please, where we are now?
- You are in the dirigible balloon.
- I understand... - Holmes says. - We are flying over Russia.
- But why? - Watson is surprised.
- It’s elementary, Buddy! Only a programmer could give such an exact and useless answer at the same time. And only in Russia programmers can look after sheep.
—conj. - introducing a conditional clause: a on the condition or supposition that; in the event that (if he comes i will tell him; if you are tired we can rest). B (with past tense) implying that the condition is not fulfilled (if i knew i would say).
- even though (i'll finish it, if it takes me all day).
- whenever (if i am not sure i ask).
- whether (see if you can find it).
- expressing a wish, surprise, or request (if i could just try!; if it isn't my old hat!; if you wouldn't mind?). —n. Condition, supposition (too many ifs about it). if only 1 even if for no other reason than (i'll come if only to see her).
- (often ellipt.) Expression of regret; i wish that (if only i had thought of it). [old english]
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