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  1. tzfujimino's Avatar
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    #1

    I don't love you because you are rich.

    Hello.

    I have a question about the construction in which "because" is preceded by a negative word.

    I don't love you because you are rich.

    Does the sentence above mean "I don't love you. The reason is that you are rich"?

    I'm sorry if it's a silly question.
    (I'd like to ask an additional question later.)

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    #2

    Re: I don't love you because you are rich.

    No. I love you for other reasons. Your being rich is not the reason for my love.
    Last edited by 5jj; 09-Mar-2014 at 07:43. Reason: Non-essential QUOTE removed.

  2. probus's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: I don't love you because you are rich.

    It is certainly not a silly question, but a good one.

    The sentence is ambiguous. It could have the meaning you suggest, but a clearer way to say that would be "I cannot love you because you are rich." But in everyday speech many people would carelessly say "I don't love you because you are rich" when they were trying to say "Your wealth is not the reason I love you."

  3. Roman55's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: I don't love you because you are rich.

    I am not a teacher.

    If you heard it spoken the intonation would make the meaning very clear.

  4. tzfujimino's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: I don't love you because you are rich.

    Thank you, Gillnetter.

    What if the sentence is separated by a comma:

    I don't love you, because you are rich.

    Does it mean the same as the one in post #1?

    Thank you.

  5. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: I don't love you because you are rich.

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    Thank you, Gillnetter.

    What if the sentence is separated by a comma:

    I don't love you, because you are rich.

    Does it mean the same as the one in post #1?

    Thank you.
    With the comma, it means "The reason I don't love you is that you are rich."
    But given that even some journalists don't use commas correctly, in writing it can be difficult to tell the meaning.

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    #7

    Re: I don't love you because you are rich.

    It's a nice example of grammatical ambiguity. As Roman55 says, with there being no context, we would need to hear the intonation of the phrase to really understand the meaning.

    I would like to compile a collection of ambiguous phrases like this to use as intonation activities with my students. Any more examples very much appreciated.

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    #8

    Re: I don't love you because you are rich.

    Isn't it better to just say "I love you but not because you are rich"? Of course I mean if you don't have a comma in the middle.

  6. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: I don't love you because you are rich.

    Yes, far better.

  7. 5jj's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: I don't love you because you are rich.

    It's a matter of style, not quality, In speech and in the right written context, "I don't love you because you're rich" is fine.

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