1

J'imagine que quitte à me faire battre, autant que ce soit par Nolan.

  1. If I have to be beaten, it might as well be by Nolan.

  2. Even if I have to be beaten, it might as well be by Nolan.

  3. Because I have to be beaten, it might as well be by Nolan.

Another similar phrase "quitte à X" without the "autant Y" part means "even if X", correct? But then, if I apply the meaning "even if" to the example sentence, it does not make perfect sense. Should I consider these two similar-looking phrases separately?

5

“Quitte à …” means that there is a risk that what follows will happen, and the actor is aware of that risk and ready to face the consequences. There can be nuances around that core meaning, but I can't think of a case where “Even if …” would be an appropriate translation.

“Quitte à X, autant Y” means “Given the risk of X, I/we/… might as well Y” or “If I have to risk X, I might as well Y”. If the word order was reversed (“Autant participer à la course, quitte à me faire battre”), it would mean “I might as well Y, despite the risk of X”.

  • 1
    I think there is a nuance somewhere. Compare "Quitte à passer 5 heures dans les bouchons, autant aller dans un bel endroit en vacances" with "Nous irons dans un bel endroit en vacances, quitte à passer 5 heures dans les bouchons." The "quitte à" clause in the first sentence means "Since we're going to spend 5h in traffic anyway" -- the choice of the destination doesn't change that. In the second sentence, the same clause means "even if that means we might spend 5h in traffic", i.e. the choice of the destination increases the risk of it happening. – qoba Aug 10 '16 at 17:19
  • Hi. How does "tant qu'à" differ in meaning from "quitte à"? : "Tant qu'à me faire battre, autant que ce soit par Nolan." vs "Quitte à me faire battre, autant que ce soit par Nolan." – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Sep 27 '17 at 18:48
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    @Alone-zee They're close, but not exactly synonyms. Quitte à X says that there's a risk of X, and implies that there's a chance that X won't happen. Tant qu'à X assumes X and explores the consequences: “assuming I'm to get beaten up, it might as well be by Nolan”. The chance of not-X for quitte à can be very small, and tant qu'à X can be implicitly hypothetical, so there's a large overlap. – Gilles Sep 27 '17 at 19:59
  • Thanks. I want to double-check: So "quitte à" indicates a greater possibility of his being beaten up than "tant qu'à"? "quitte à me faire battre" = "je risque de me faire battre" vs "tant qu'à me faire battre" = "en supposant que je me fasse battre" – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Sep 27 '17 at 20:16
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    @Alone-zee No, it's the opposite: quitte à is (somewhat) more hypothetical, i.e. a lesser possibility. – Gilles Sep 27 '17 at 20:39

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