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    #1

    You, with your growing... (help me understand this)

    Hi,

    Help me understand this, please. I can understand the parts which I have enclosed in brackets.

    You, (with your growing interest in the affairs of the world), are poised in a moment of history when you cannot (but carry that voyage forward).

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: You, with your growing... (help me understand this)

    If you can understand the parts enclosed in brackets, what exactly do you not understand?
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

    — Arthur Schopenhauer

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    #3

    Re: You, with your growing... (help me understand this)

    Which is not enclosed.

    ''...are poised in a moment of history when you cannot...''

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: You, with your growing... (help me understand this)

    www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/poised
    http://www.macmillandictionary.com/d...annot-help-but

    Having read the above, I think 'poised' means 'ready', and 'cannot but' means 'have no choice except to' in your sentence.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #5

    Re: You, with your growing... (help me understand this)

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Hello, Untaught:

    May I just add a few comments in addition to the excellent answer that you received in post #4?

    Here is what Michael Swan in his Practical English Usage (1995 edition) says:


    "One cannot (help) but admire his courage." = "One has to admire his courage."

    I have made up this sentence:

    "I do not like him, but I cannot but admit that he knows a lot about Jupiter." = "I do not like him, but I have to admit that he knows a lot about Jupiter."

    My favorite grammarian, the one and only George Oliver Curme, would tell us that such a sentence is actually a shorter way of saying:

    "I do not like him, but I cannot [do anything] but [that I do] admit he knows a lot about Jupiter." (Of course, no one would say the longer version.)

    Thus, "You are poised [in a position] in a moment of history when you have to carry that voyage forward."

    (I am not 99.99% confident as to what "that voyage" refers to, so I shall keep my opinion to myself.)

    Authorities: Michael Swan (above) and George Oliver Curme, A Grammar of the English Language (1931), Vol. II, page 479.

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    #6

    Re: You, with your growing... (help me understand this)

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    "I do not like him, but I cannot [do anything] but [that I do] admit he knows a lot about Jupiter." (Of course, no one would say the longer version.)
    I think the reason that most people would not say the longer version is that it doesn't appear to be coherent English.

  4. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: You, with your growing... (help me understand this)

    Is the following one coherent?

    'I do not like him, but I cannot [deny it] but [have to] admit he knows a lot about Jupiter.'
    I am not a teacher.

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    #8

    Re: You, with your growing... (help me understand this)

    It's most unnatural.

    My personal idea is that 'cannot but' was originally a mishearing of 'can naught but' (= can do nothing but).
    Last edited by Piscean; 31-Oct-2015 at 16:43. Reason: thought added

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