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.
Last edited by Rover_KE; 23-Aug-2013 at 22:44.
Last edited by euncu; 23-Aug-2013 at 23:05. Reason: typo correction
— 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.
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.
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]