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    #1

    but in vain

    Hi,
    I came across a sentence and I was confused on its structure, did it omit some parts. Please help me to explain the structure. Thank you.
    I tried to pursade him but in vain.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: but in vain

    When you do something "in vain" it means that it didn't work -- whatever good result you'd hoped for, it did not happen.
    In this case, the author was not able to persuade 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.

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    #3

    Re: but in vain

    Thank you.
    In that sentence, "but" was a conjunction, why it did not follow by a clause? The structure in that part was conjunction+ preposition phrase(functioned as an adverb), right? Did it comply with the grammar? Did the sentence omit some words? Maybe the sentence should be " I tried to persuade him but the result was in vain.", am I right?
    If so, could you please give me few others examples with this structure?(Use other words or phrases rather than "in vain")

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: but in vain

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_000 View Post
    Thank you.
    In that sentence, "but" was a conjunction, why it did not wasn't it followed by a clause?
    There is no rule that conjunctions have to be followed by clauses.

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: but in vain

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_000 View Post
    Thank you.
    In that sentence, "but" was a conjunction, why it did not follow by a clause? The structure in that part was conjunction+ preposition phrase(functioned as an adverb), right? Did it comply with the grammar? Did the sentence omit some words? Maybe the sentence should be " I tried to persuade him but the result was in vain.", am I right?
    If so, could you please give me few others examples with this structure?(Use other words or phrases rather than "in vain")
    The phrase 'in vain' is adverbial, and modifies the verb. Saying 'The result was in vain' makes no sense. There is also a one-word adverb: He tried vainly to persuade him. (This has nothing to do with someone looking vainly in a mirror - the attempt there is successful; it just shows vanity. )

    There is a related adjective - 'vain' - which qualifies the attempt: He tried to persuade him but the attempt was vain

    There are several other words you can use: 'without success'/'but he had no luck'/'unsuccessfully'/.... . You may meet the archaic word 'bootlessly' in an old text. An informal way of referring to lack of success is 'he had no joy' - 'I'm been trying to track him down for weeks, but I've had no joy'.

    b

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