Page 1 of 2 1 2 Last
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Thread: but

  1. Senior Member
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Aug 2010
    • Posts: 695
    #1

    but

    Hi,

    What does the "but" mean in this sentence?


    I thought their allegations but reasonable.


    Thanks a lot

  2. Member
    Other
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 203
    #2

    Re: but

    Hi,

    It's a structure you won't see very often and I think it's a very archaic phrase
    and hence one you should probably avoid.

    If I'm correct I think it's a way of saying, 'I thought their allegations were reasonable, but only just'.

    I'll be interested to see other comments since as I say it's uncommon.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
    VIP Member
    Academic
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,761
    #3

    Re: but

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard1 View Post
    Hi,

    It's a structure you won't see very often and I think it's a very archaic phrase
    and hence one you should probably avoid.

    If I'm correct I think it's a way of saying, 'I thought their allegations were reasonable, but only just'.

    I'll be interested to see other comments since as I say it's uncommon.
    I don't think I've heard of it. Do you have any examples?
    But I agree - avoid it.

  4. Senior Member
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Aug 2010
    • Posts: 695
    #4

    Re: but

    Thanks a lot, I asked a foreign friend online, he is teaching in China. He said it meant "anything but", but I couldn't look it up in dictionary.

  5. Member
    Other
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 203
    #5

    Re: but

    Hi,

    Yes on reflection I think your friend's interpretation is correct and to be preferred to my original though of 'but only just'.

    Regards

  6. bhaisahab's Avatar
    Moderator
    Retired English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Ireland

    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 26,076
    #6

    Re: but

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard1 View Post
    Hi,

    Yes on reflection I think your friend's interpretation is correct and to be preferred to my original though of 'but only just'.

    Regards
    I'd go with your original idea, "only just".

  7. 5jj's Avatar
    VIP Member
    Retired English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #7

    Re: but

    The Corpus of Contemporary American has 173 citations for 'were but', many of them along the lines of 'When you were but a child', suggesting the meaning of 'only, nothing more than'.

  8. Senior Member
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Aug 2010
    • Posts: 695
    #8

    Re: but

    So "but" in my original sentence means "only, nothing more than", is it right? Do I still need to strike it out? I mean is it old-fashioned?

  9. 5jj's Avatar
    VIP Member
    Retired English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #9

    Re: but

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverobama View Post
    So "but" in my original sentence means "only, nothing more than", is it right? Do I still need to strike it out? I mean is it old-fashioned?
    It seems old-fashioned to me, and the responses in this thread have shown that the meaning is not clear.

    Personally (and this is a matter for individual choice, not rules), I would either omit 'but' or, possibly, replace it with 'only'

  10. Senior Member
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Aug 2010
    • Posts: 695
    #10

    Re: but

    Like this:

    I thought their allegations but reasonable.
    I thought their allegations only reasonable.

    To mean that "their allegations was reasonable"?

Page 1 of 2 1 2 Last

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •