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  1. #1
    layla0302 is offline Member
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    Default went out to visit?

    "Well, she kept talking about this cheesy French guy, Gabriel. So, I went out to visit, and there was this party. And who shows up but Gabriel."

    Hi.
    I can understand why the man said I went out to visit.
    Does "out" in this saying means that he had been in the building, and went out of that place?
    I mean.. if I just say "I went to visit him"...is that much different?

    And...what does "but" mean? I have learned that but could meant to be "only", but it doesn't work here.

    Thank you

  2. #2
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: went out to visit?

    "Went out to visit" doesn't make a lot of sense. Yes, the idea of the "out" is that he left his home. He went out.

    The "but" means "except" in this case.

  3. #3
    layla0302 is offline Member
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    Default Re: went out to visit?

    Thanks. But I can't understand "but"...because the sentence has to mean "the man called Gabirel was there"...if but means except in this case, the sentence would be "There were many people except him, Gabirel."

  4. #4
    English Tutor Helen is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: went out to visit?

    In this case, the 'but' means that Gabriel did come to the party. It is used here to emphasise the meaning of the dialogue. The idea is that it was a coincidence that Gabriel came to the party as they had been recently talking about him.

  5. #5
    magimagicE is offline Member
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    Default Re: went out to visit?

    Quote Originally Posted by layla0302 View Post

    "Well, she kept talking about this cheesy French guy, Gabriel. So, I went out to visit, and there was this party. And who shows up but Gabriel."

    Hi.
    I can understand why the man said I went out to visit.
    Does "out" in this saying means that he had been in the building, and went out of that place?
    I mean.. if I just say "I went to visit him"...is that much different?

    And...what does "but" mean? I have learned that but could meant to be "only", but it doesn't work here.

    Thank you

    "...I went to visit...", would have sufficed, but the speaker wanted to indicate the destination as well as the purpose for going there.

    "...I went out to visit..." - here, the "out" indicates the destination.


    "And who shows up but Gabriel" - here, the "but" means "no other than". It is being used to indicate an element of surprise, or as a form of sarcasm to indicate that Gabriel gets around.
    Last edited by magimagicE; 19-Apr-2012 at 13:50. Reason: typo

  6. #6
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: went out to visit?

    Quote Originally Posted by layla0302 View Post
    Thanks. But I can't understand "but"...because the sentence has to mean "the man called Gabirel was there"...if but means except in this case, the sentence would be "There were many people except him, Gabirel."
    "Out" could mean a few things here. Maybe the party was at a place out of town, or on the outskirts of town, out along the railway tracks, etc. There are usually places in most cities of which we'd say, "I went out to X."

    I wouldn't say that 'but' means 'except' here - though it's hard to say exactly what it does mean, or the derivation of it.
    "And who should show up, but Gabriel." Usually this expresses some surprise, but it's hardly surprising if she was told about Gabriel and went out there, and he was there. (Maybe there's something missing from the context).
    It means something like, "Guess who showed up? Gabriel himself! [No one else worth mentioning] but Gabriel! No, not Tom, not Harry, but Gabriel!" I wouldn't worry about the actual meaning or derivation of 'but' here. It's an idiom.

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: went out to visit?

    Quote Originally Posted by magimagicE View Post
    "And who shows up but Gabriel" - here, the "but" means "no other than". It is being used to indicate an element of surprise, or as a form of sarcasm to indicate that Gabriel gets around.
    I don't think that any sarcasm is implied in the words.

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