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See also: what-if
Dates back at least to Old English hwæt ġif, of the same meaning.
what if (not comparable)
- Used to introduce a suggestion or proposal for a future event.
- What if we arrange it for 9:00 instead of 10:00?
- Used to introduce a speculation about a future event.
- What if we could learn to get along? What would happen then?
- Used to introduce a speculation about a past event. Often the basis for counterfactual historical interpretations.
- What if Abraham Lincoln had not been assassinated? How might the Reconstruction of the Southern States have been handled?
- (introducing a suggestion): how about
used to introduce suggestion
used to introduce speculation about future