19.5.3 mesmo que even if

Mesmo que is a synonym for ainda que. Irrespective of whether or not the event described in the subordinate clause introduced by mesmo que / ainda que has ocurred / will ocurr or not, the event described in the main clause happened / will happen.

Even if he is ill, he goes to work.
Even if he was ill, he went to work.

It is usefull to see that embora is a concessive conjunction as well, but embora is used when the event that could prevent the event of the main clause from happen, has ocurred.

Although he was ill, he went to work.

Other roman languages distinguish between these two situations. With even if the conjuntive mood is used, with although the indicative mode. This is not the case in Portuguese. Any concessive conjunction requires always the conjuntivo.

mesmo que even if
Voltarei para casa mesmo que seja tarde.
I will go back home, even if it is late.
Mesmo que haja poucos ouvintes, o discurso será proferido.
Even if there are only few listeners, he will held the speech.
Mesmo que as pessoas mudem, os amigos devem ser amigos para sempre.
Even if people change, friends should remain friends.
Receberão esta ajuda directa mesmo que deixem de cultivar beterraba sacarina.
They will get this direct subsidy, even if they don't grow beets.

The construction mesmo que can appear in a completely different context that has nothing to do with a concessive clause. In this case mesmo retains its basic meaning, self and que is a relative pronoun. That looks the same, but is something completely different. (Actually mesmo used in this context is mostly only a reinforcement. There are lot of different possibilities to translate that.)

mesmo (adjective / sust. adjective / self ) + que relative pronoun
Mas não é isso mesmo que nós queremos.
However that's not exactly what we want.
Eu penso o mesmo que você.
I think the same thing you think.
Alguns dizem mesmo que esse acontecimento, pode passar despercebido.
Some even say that this event will not even be perceived.
Comandar muitos é o mesmo que comandar poucos.
To take the command for a lot of people is the same as to take the command for few people.

Furthermore we have mesmo assim, whose meaning is nevertheless. The meaning of nevertheless is more or less the same as but, however perhaps nevertheless underlines the contradiction.

but <=> nevertheless
He has studied, but he can't find a job.
He has studied, nevertheless he can't find a job.
He never works out, but he is fit anyway.
He never works out, nevertheless he is fit anyway.

mesmo assim nevertheless
Mesmo assim, poucas pessoas fazem o que é melhor para elas.
Nevertheless only few people do, what is good for them.
Posso estar no pior dia da minha vida, mesmo assim vou fazer de tudo para ver você sorrir.
It can be the darkest day of my life, nevertheless I will do everything to see you smile.
Estava bem nublado e mesmo assim foi bonito.
It was very cloudy, nevertheless it was nice.

Mesmo assim can be an adverb as well. As am adverb it can have broad range of meanings.

mesmo als Adverb
Mas mesmo assim ele tem o nosso respeito e o nosso carinho.
Nevertheless she deserves our respect and love.
Obrigado mesmo assim.
Thank you anyway.
A vida é mesmo assim, não é?
That's life, what can we do?
A comida é mesmo assim tão boa?
Is the food really as good?

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