meaning Difference between if only and only if Only if and if only are idiomatic phrases that are quite different in meaning If is used to express a condition When used after only i.e only if, it expresses a strong condition or the only situation in which something can happen. English Grammar if only, I wish Expressing Wish or Regret Use of I wish if only There are three distinct types of I wish if only sentences Wish, wanting change for the present or future with the simple past Regret with the past perfect. meaning If vs Only if vs If and only if English If vs Only if vs If and only if The goal of language is to communicate with humans There may be some arcane rules of language that provide for a definitive answer to your question, but since few people are familiar with it, knowing the rule won t do you any good. Quote by Louis Sachar If only, if only, the woodpecker If only, if only, the woodpecker sighs, The bark on the tree was as soft as the skies While the wolf waits below, hungry and lonely, Crying to the moo oo oon, If only, If only Louis Sachar, Holes Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quotes Author of One Day in the quotes from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn If only it were all so simple If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. If Only Definition of If Only by Merriam Webster If only definition is used to talk about something that one wants to happen or be true How to use if only in a sentence used to talk about something that one wants to happen or be true If Only Jul , Share this Rating Title If Only . Want to share s rating on your own site Use the HTML below. Job Nor is there a mediator between us, to lay his If only there were a mediator between us, someone who could bring us together English Standard Version There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both Berean Study Bible Nor is there a mediator between us, to lay his hand upon us both New American Standard Bible There is no umpire between us, Who may lay his hand upon us both. I wish there were, or I wish there was, which sounds If there is absolutely no chance that I can do anything for you, and I m speaking formally, then I should say I wish there were something I could do for you If there s no chance at all that I can do anything for you, and I m speaking in a neutral or informal register, then I can use either was or were.