Even if and Even Though – the Non-Ultimate Guide
At the intermediate level and above, the subjunctive in Portuguese becomes one of the biggest hurdles you have to overcome.
There just too many rules to be memorized. That’s why I advocate the usage of “triggers” to make using the subjunctive automatic.
Today, you’re going to learn another good trigger that will make your life 90% easier. Why 90%? Well, because 100% isn’t really possible, is it?
Even if, even though – a quick review
As an English learner, I was taught that even if and even though had different meanings.
Even though means that despite the fact that, whereas even if means whether or not the conditions apply.
- Even if I had the money, I couldn’t buy it.
- Even though I had the money, I couldn’t buy it.
The first sentence means that I’m supposing that, if that situation were real and not hypothetical, I wouldn’t be able to buy it.
The second situation means that I had the money, that was a real situation, but anyway I wasn’t able to buy it.
That difference exists in Portuguese as well.
Using Mesmo Que
Mesmo que roughly corresponds to even though – and its less emphatic versions, although and though.
In Portuguese, whenever you have to use “mesmo que,” you need to use either the present subjunctive or the past imperfect subjunctive.
- Mesmo que faça isso agora, não vai adiantar.
Even though you do it now, it will do no good.
- Mesmo que eu tivesse o dinheiro, não pude comprar.
Even though I had the money, I couldn’t buy it.
You can get any two sentences that express a relationship of concession and put them together by using “mesmo que.”
Using Mesmo Se
“Mesmo se” corresponds roughly to even if.
They are the expressions that translate the concept of “even if.” One of them is “ainda que,” but we are not going to deal with this today.
The thing to pay attention to is that “mesmo se” requires either future subjunctive or past imperfect subjunctive, never present subjunctive. Thus:
- Mesmo se eu tenho tempo, não posso fazer nada. (x – wrong, don’t try this at home)
- Mesmo se eu tiver tempo, não posso fazer nada.
Even if I have time, I can’t do anything.
If you have watched the video above – and issued, because this article is just a complement to it –, you’ll see more examples and additional explanations of how to use both expressions and others.
And best of all, you’ll find some speaking exercises embedded in the video.
And after you have watched the video and read all the examples and explanation here, there is an exercise for you.
Read the sentences below carefully. I have employed “mesmo que” in writing them. That means, all of them express a situation that is true.
Rewrite them by using “mesmo se”.
- Mesmo que tenha pouquíssimo que fazer no trabalho, meu chefe não me permite ficar em casa. (I’m probably at work now)
- Não vou lhe dar as informações, mesmo que me pergunte mil vezes. (You’ve asked already)
- Mesmo que me pague rios de dinheiro, não vou contar meu segredo. (You’ve offered to give me money)
- Mesmo que ganhe muito, não pode ganhar para viver como um rei. (you already earn a lot)
- Mesmo que me ofereça todo o dinheiro do mundo, não vou assinar esse contrato. (you’ve offered to give me money for me to sign on the dotted line)
- ANSWERS – DON’T PEEK IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED IT!
If you check your answers only after you’ve finished it, then your eyes won’t burn.
Think of the hidden meaning behind each sentence.
- Mesmo se tiver o que sei o que fazer no trabalho, meu chefe não me permite ficar em casa. (hidden meaning: I know he won’t let me stay home, but this – me not having what to do – hasn’t happened yet.)
- Não vou lhe dar as informações, mesmo se me perguntar 1000 vezes.
- Mesmo se me pagar rios de dinheiro, não vou contar meu segredo.
- Mesmo se ganhar muito, não pode ganhar para viver como um rei.
- Mesmo se me oferecer todo o dinheiro do mundo, não vou assinar esse contrato.