- For Teachers
Hi, I'm new here. English is my foreign language so I sometimes might be somewhat clumsy in my expressions, but I hope experts will somehow do...
I'm currently reading Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". At some point narrator is describing some bigmouths bragging about themselves and their "marvelous" deeds on battle fields. Then such a sentence comes about:
"There were several more who had been equally great in the field, not one of whom but was persuaded that he had a considerable hand in bringing the war to a happy termination."
That "but" destroys my all understanding of it. I'd appreciate if someone could express this sentence in other words which would in some other, simpler way convey exactly the same meaning and sense. Or maybe there is just one simple single English-word equivalent for this wretched "but"-word which would do the job...
Thank you in advance
I think the opposite may be true. It means "not" in this case and modifies "was" -- not one of whom was NOT persuaded....." i.e. All of them thought they were important in ending the war.
Got it! Now makes clear sense to me! Thank you very much indeed.
Written in 1820, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is among the earliest examples of American fiction still read today. (Wikipedia)
Language changes considerably over nearly 200 years, szaroczek.
Make sure you read plenty of modern English, too.
NOT A TEACHER
(1) Thank you, Szaroczek, for asking that question. It really helped many of us ordinary native speakers to better understand older English.
(2) Of course, especial thanks to Konungursvia for giving us the answer.
(3) I found this beautiful sentence written by someone whose last name was Lowell.
It was published in the year 1871:
"As for the birds, I do not believe there is one of them but does more good
(a) This "but" is classified as a conjunction meaning "who ... not" or "that ...not."
CREDIT for the quotation and definition goes to:
Funk & Wagnalls New Standard Dictionary of the English Language (1952)
What could be better than when "everybody wins"!