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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Javanese
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      • Japan
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    • Join Date: Nov 2009
    • Posts: 40
    #1

    but of course

    In the sitcom "Fawlty Towers", Basil frequently says "But of course" when he receives an order from his customers at the restaurant. What is the significance of the "but" here?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Portuguese
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      • Brazil
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    • Join Date: Jun 2009
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    #2

    Re: but of course

    Quote Originally Posted by Ju1ian View Post
    In the sitcom "Fawlty Towers", Basil frequently says "But of course" when he receives an order from his customers at the restaurant. What is the significance of the "but" here?
    I guess it is just an idiomatic expression. The speaker wants to be somehow special, to have a kind of a "trade mark", for he repeats it whenever possible. When he says "but of course", he emphasises his willing to please the customer at all costs. Observe that when you begin answering someone with "but", the first thing which comes to mind is that you will pose problems to the situation, that is, you will answer the question in a negative way. Then you flip the coin and continue with "of course", trying to give more strength to your affirmative answer. If you like it, you may use it as well.

    Naturally, depending on the situation and the intonation, it can be also sarcastic.


    PS Not a native speaker

  1. kfredson's Avatar

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 700
    #3

    Re: but of course

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    I guess it is just an idiomatic expression. The speaker wants to be somehow special, to have a kind of a "trade mark", for he repeats it whenever possible. When he says "but of course", he emphasises his willing to please the customer at all costs. Observe that when you begin answering someone with "but", the first thing which comes to mind is that you will pose problems to the situation, that is, you will answer the question in a negative way. Then you flip the coin and continue with "of course", trying to give more strength to your affirmative answer. If you like it, you may use it as well.

    Naturally, depending on the situation and the intonation, it can be also sarcastic.


    PS Not a native speaker
    I fully agree. A customer might say, "Would you please get this for me, if it is not too much trouble."
    You might respond, "Of course." "But of course" would emphasize that it is no trouble at all.

    Basil is always ironic and often sarcastic. Listening to him is a great way to learn English!

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