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  1. 羡鱼-Xianyu's Avatar

    • Join Date: Jan 2010
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    #1

    Two questions, thanks!

    A year ago, Chris was unemployed and went to his local employment office to try to find work. While looking for a new job, many people can claim unemployment benefit. But not Chris. Because his previous employer failed to supply him with the correct form, an over-zealous local employment officer told Chris that he could not claim.'Rules are rules,' the man said, and there was nothing he could do about it. When Chris tried to ascertain what the rules were, he met a blank wall.


    Hello everybody,
    I have two questions this time. Would you mind giving a hand again, please?

    1. Why is 'But not Chris' not written as 'But Chris could not'? Could anyone explain it for me from grammar rules, please?

    2. What's meaning of the 'blank wall'?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Two questions, thanks!

    "But not Chris" is a sentence fragment. In real life, we use fragments in our writing to make it more interesting, to add variety to a paragraph, and to avoid repeating unnecessary information.

    In this case, "a blank wall" is a metaphor. His goal -- unemployment benefits -- are on the other side, and there are no doors or windows for him to pass through. It also means that the person was unwilling to help him.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. 羡鱼-Xianyu's Avatar

    • Join Date: Jan 2010
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    #3

    Re: Two questions, thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    "But not Chris" is a sentence fragment. In real life, we use fragments in our writing to make it more interesting, to add variety to a paragraph, and to avoid repeating unnecessary information.

    In this case, "a blank wall" is a metaphor. His goal -- unemployment benefits -- are on the other side, and there are no doors or windows for him to pass through. It also means that the person was unwilling to help him.
    Thank you for your reply, Moderator.

    I'm still confused that if I want to change 'But not Chris' into a complete sentence, conld I write it as 'But Chris could not claim unemployment benefit'? If it may, 'but Chris could not' should be a sentence fragment rather than a complete one. In my humble opinion, it also does avoid repeating unnecessary parts. Well, my question is why 'Chris could not' can not be used?

    Looking forward to your further reply.
    Cheers!
    Last edited by 羡鱼-Xianyu; 29-Apr-2010 at 07:42.

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Two questions, thanks!

    If you're worried about the fragment, then you should be worried about not starting with "But."

    Chris, however, could not.
    However, Chris could not.
    This did not, however apply to Chris.
    Unfortunately, these benefits were not available to Chris.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  5. 羡鱼-Xianyu's Avatar

    • Join Date: Jan 2010
    • Posts: 83
    #5

    Re: Two questions, thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    If you're worried about the fragment, then you should be worried about not starting with "But."

    Chris, however, could not.
    However, Chris could not.
    This did not, however apply to Chris.
    Unfortunately, these benefits were not available to Chris.

    Thank you for further help, Moderator.

    However, I have no notion of 'not starting with 'But'' you said. Could you explain it for me in details, please? By the way, what do you think the property of 'But' is in here, conj., prep. or adv.?

    Excuse my troubling you again and again.

  6. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Two questions, thanks!

    You are not making trouble, I promise.

    But is a conjunction.

    In formal writing, you should not start a sentence with And or But, because they are properly used to join two independent clauses together in the same sentence.

    You seemed to be concerned about the fragment. In common writing, the limited -- and intentional -- use of fragments is okay. If you don't want to use a fragment because it's too informal, then you should not use "But" to start a sentence because that is informal also. Does that make sense?
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  7. 羡鱼-Xianyu's Avatar

    • Join Date: Jan 2010
    • Posts: 83
    #7

    Re: Two questions, thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    You are not making trouble, I promise.

    But is a conjunction.

    In formal writing, you should not start a sentence with And or But, because they are properly used to join two independent clauses together in the same sentence.

    You seemed to be concerned about the fragment. In common writing, the limited -- and intentional -- use of fragments is okay. If you don't want to use a fragment because it's too informal, then you should not use "But" to start a sentence because that is informal also. Does that make sense?
    Yes, What you said of course makes sense!
    I'm really grateful for having your time and your patience!

    Have a nice day, Moderator.

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