19.5. concessive conjunctions

The term concessive is actually meaningless. The term suggests that the concessive conjunctions introduce a subordinate clause that makes the event in the main clause possible or allows it. One would rather think on something like that.

He does it, because he is allowed to do it.

However the conjunction because is assigned to the causal conjunction in grammar books.

Actually concessive conjunctions like although, however, even if etc.. don't allow or concede something. In most cases they introduce a subordinate clause that describes an event that could be a hindrance to the event described in the main clause, but is not.

Although he is poor, he is happy.

His being poor doesn't allow or concede him to be happy, but is not a hindrance to it. The term concessive conjunctions and concessive clause is completely missleading. If someone is not able to prevent something, he doesn't concede it.

Although his father haven't allowed it, he did it.

The father concedes nothing. The opposite is true. He was a potential hindrance. The fact that he was unable to impose its will, doesn't mean that he conceded something. We will stick with this term because it is introduced in grammar books, although it doesn't make any sense.

This is the first problem. The second problem is that we have two very different type of conjunctions in this group. The although group and the even if group. (These names are invented by the author.) In the although group we have conjunctions like embora, apesar de que, portanto, contudo, todavia that describe a real situation. In other words the event that could be a hindrance for the event described in the main clause really occurred or there is a regular coincidence between these two events.

occured in the past: Although he was ill, he went to work.
regular coincidence: Although he is ill, he goes to work.

The hindrance is real, but doesn't prevent the action of the main clause from happening.

To the even if group belong conjunctions like ainda que, mesmo que, etc.. These conjunctions introduce a subordinate clause that describes a hypothetical hindrance, that even if it occurs, it will not prevent the event of the main clause from happening.

Even if he is tired, he works out for one hour.

That's completely different. In this case we are talking about a hypothetical situation.

Why it is important to see the difference? It is important because in all roman languages but Portuguese subordinated clauses that describe a hypothetical scenario require the conjuntivo, see 12, and subordinated clauses that describe a real situation the indicativo. Portuguese is the exception. All concessive clauses require the conjuntivo, although we can find very often the indicativo if the sentence is introduced by a conjunction of the although group. Portuguese is therefore an exception to this general rule concerning this aspect.

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