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Und ginge es nur ums Aussehen, wäre das ja auch nicht weiter schlimm. Aber ...

For the sake of breaking down the meaning of the sentence, I go with a rather literal translation here:

= "If it were just a matter of appearance, that would indeed really not so bad. But ..."

At first, I thought this auch means "too/as well" in relation to what has been said in a previous context, but I realised that it might be more like "wirklich/really" to talk about a real situation.

One by one:

  • ja = indeed {in relation to the subsequent aber}

  • auch = wirklich/really {to talk about a real situation}

  • nicht weiter = not further / not really / not so

I wonder if I'm on the right track in my interpretation?

  • In that sentence it could mean both wirklich and ebenfalls. We need more context. When spoken, the difference lies in emphasis. When the auch is over-emphasized, it means ebenfalls in that sentence. The problem is wirklich is used as a replacement for ebenfalls, too. – Janka Apr 1 '17 at 19:13
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I consider this "auch" to be appropriate because it links two different instances of limited scope.

The hypothetical criteria here comprise only looks (not e.g. skills), i.e. less than normal or less than imaginable. Likewise, the hypothetical effect would be less severe than possible. This makes "auch" appropriate to use.

Imagine a situation where small cause has a large effect:

Wenn ein Politiker Übergewicht hat, ist er schon nicht mehr wählbar.

Here the two clauses link a less important cause with a drastic effect, so "schon" is more appropriate than "auch" would be.

  • Thanks. So do you think that the "unlikeliness" described both in the main clause and the subordinate clause is "equal", that is to say, "auch/equally unlikely"? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Apr 2 '17 at 8:42
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    @Alone-zee Perhaps not equal but certainly of the same sign and magnitude. Compare: "Wer ein Verbrechen begeht [severe], muss auch die Konsequenzen tragen [severe]" vs. "Wer nur blinzelt [minor cause], hat schon verloren [major effect]". – Kilian Foth Apr 2 '17 at 11:24

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