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  1. euncu's Avatar
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    #1

    Incorrect use of a word

    Hello,

    Here is a paragraph from a a page o today's BBC news;

    ....
    It is uncertain what action the US might take - curiously the state department has said that previously the red lines have been crossed and the US has taken action, but that they can't say what.
    ....

    I couldn't understand the use of the word that (bolded by me) here. It made no sense to me. Shouldn't the that be removed?


    Here is the source link ;

    BBC News - Obama: Syria chemical weapon claim a 'grave concern'

    Thanks for your answers in advance.

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    #2

    Re: Incorrect use of a word

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post

    I couldn't understand the use of the word that (bolded by me) here. It made no sense to me. Shouldn't the "that" be removed?

    It makes sense as it is and it can also be removed.

    Think of it like this:

    The state department has said that the US has taken action but (the state department has also said)that they can't say what.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 23-Aug-2013 at 22:44.

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    #3

    Re: Incorrect use of a word

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    Hello,

    Here is a paragraph from a a page o today's BBC news;

    ....
    It is uncertain what action the US might take - curiously the state department has said that previously the red lines have been crossed and the US has taken action, but that they can't say what.
    ....

    I couldn't understand the use of the word that (bolded by me) here. It made no sense to me. Shouldn't the that be removed? Could be with little/no effect in meaning. Consider "but that" = "although".


    Here is the source link ;

    BBC News - Obama: Syria chemical weapon claim a 'grave concern'

    Thanks for your answers in advance.
    b.

  2. euncu's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Incorrect use of a word

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    I couldn't understand the use of the word that (bolded by me) here. It made no sense to me. Shouldn't the that be removed? Could be with little/no effect in meaning. Consider "but that" = "although".
    Thank you very much for the answer. I had looked "but that" up to see if it was a phrase but I couldn't find anything so I started this thread. Is it a common phrase used instead of "although"?
    Last edited by euncu; 23-Aug-2013 at 23:05. Reason: typo correction

  3. mayita1usa's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Incorrect use of a word

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    Thank you very much for the answer. I had looked "but that" up to see if it was a phrase but I couldn't find anything so I started this thread. Is it a common phrase used instead of "although"?
    To billmcd: I don't think I understand your answer either... Could you please use "but that" to mean "although" in another context to help me see what you mean? There are cases where you can us "but that" as a conjunction, such as this example from Merriam-Webster.com:
    but that : that —used after a negative <there is no doubt but that it must be done>

    However, in this example it doesn’t mean although. Rover’s answer is the one that makes the most sense to me.

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Incorrect use of a word

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    Thank you very much for the answer. I had looked "but that" up to see if it was a phrase but I couldn't find anything so I started this thread. Is it a common phrase used instead of "although"?
    It's common enough. "She said that she can come to the concert, but that she can't attend the party."
    Note that the reason for the second 'that' is that the first clause has a 'that' in it. The second clause is also describing what she said.
    "She said that she can come to the concert, but she can't attend the party." In this sentence, all that you can infer that she said is that she can come to the concert. It could be the speakers own opinion that she cannot attend the party. Putting the 'that' in makes it clear that she said it.
    "Mary said that Michael is coming, but Greg isn't." Did Mary say Greg isn't coming? Not necessarily.
    "Mary said that Michael is coming, but that Greg isn't." Did Mary say Greg isn't coming? Yes.

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    #7

    Re: Incorrect use of a word

    Quote Originally Posted by mayita1usa View Post
    To billmcd: I don't think I understand your answer either... Could you please use "but that" to mean "although" in another context to help me see what you mean? There are cases where you can us "but that" as a conjunction, such as this example from Merriam-Webster.com:
    but that : that —used after a negative <there is no doubt but that it must be done>

    However, in this example it doesn’t mean although. Rover’s answer is the one that makes the most sense to me.
    The phrase can be used in a variety of ways/contexts as seen in other responses. My response referred to your original post and I believe the term "although" is an acceptable inference. Consider another used for something that is certain.: "I saw her last night on TV. There is no doubt but that she is beautiful."

  5. mayita1usa's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Incorrect use of a word

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    The phrase can be used in a variety of ways/contexts as seen in other responses. My response referred to your original post and I believe the term "although" is an acceptable inference. Consider another used for something that is certain.: "I saw her last night on TV. There is no doubt but that she is beautiful."
    Thanks for replying, but I still don't see how the combination of "but + that" works out to "although"... "I saw her last night on TV. There is no doubt *although she is beautiful." This makes no sense to me.

    I'm well aware of many constructions using the words but and that in sequence; however, most of the time (see one of my favorite exceptions below ) but functions as a coordinating conjunction and that as a relative pronoun or (as in the OP's example) a subordinating conjunction used to create parallel construction (see again Rover's explanation).

    In your example, "but that" seems to be idiomatic usage where a simple "that" would also suffice: There is no doubt that she is beautiful. I think there's linguistic terminology for this phenomenon, but I don't remember what it might be...

    ... Who would fardels bear,
    To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
    But that the dread of something after death,
    The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
    No traveller returns, puzzles the will
    And makes us rather bear those ills we have
    Than fly to others that we know not of?
    [William Shakespeare, Hamlet, III, i]

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