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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 1st, 2013, 12:11 am
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Default conjunction

Hi,
Can I also use 'yet', 'however' and 'still' instead of 'but' without changing the meaning in these examples?

1.He is a doctor, but/yet he is not kind.
He is a doctor. However/Still, he is not kind.

2.He is poor, but/yet he is happy.
He is poor. However/Still, he is happy.

3.She is naughty, but/yet she is not happy.
She is naughty. However/Still, she is not happy.

4.Is Mike tall?
Yes, he is tall, but/yet he is thin.
Yes, he is tall. However/Still, he is thin.

5.It is a fat dog, but/yet its owner is thin.
It is a fat dog. However/Still, its owner is thin.

Thank you very much for your reply.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 1st, 2013, 02:18 am
Sue
 
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Default Re: conjunction

Grammatically, yes. They're not all conjunctions however - still and however are adverbs. And notice that there's considerable stylistic difference between them. Yet suggests a formal style and would be much more common in written English, as would however. Still, on the other hand, is informal and would be much more likely in spoken English. But is neutral and could occur in any style. So from that point of view they're not interchangeable.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 1st, 2013, 11:55 pm
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Default Re: conjunction

Hi Susan,

1.Is the phrase 'on the other hand' formal or informal?

2.Can but, still, yet, however and on the other hand all be used in contrasting sentences?
For example,

1.It is a fat dog, but its owner is thin.
It is a fat dog. Still, its owner is thin.

"However" and "yet" aren't appropriate here because the example is informal, right?

2.Some people prefer to live in the country, but/yet others prefer to live in the city.
Some people prefer to live in the country. However, others prefer to live in the city.

"Still" isn't proper here because the example is formal, right?

Can I use 'on the other hand' in both examples?

Thank you very much for your comment.
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  #4 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 2nd, 2013, 02:29 am
Sue
 
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Default Re: conjunction

1. Neutral rather than formal. But in the British national corpus on the other hand occurs 47 times in written texts, predominantly in a second sentence while it occurs 17 times in spoken texts and is predominantly combined with a co-ordinating conjunction. So it it clearly more common in written English and used differently when it occurs in spoken language. Some typical examples :

Written :
...25%, for instance, in a four- member constituency. On the other hand, the distribution of first- preference vote...
...militates against the decision- taking ability of firms. On the other hand, they are not prepared to countenance...


SPOKEN
...it could break your arm. And on the other hand, if it started and took off suddenly, ...
...they're not an executor's personal responsibility, but on the other hand an executor is not entitled to charge...




2. Still is wrong here in any case as it expresses concession (a "surprising" change in the direction of the text, breaking the reader/listener's expectations) rather than contrast - which is what is involved in your examples. Compare :
I got sea bass instead of salmon. The salmon was really expensive, but the sea bass was on special offer. but = contrast : expensive vs cheap
The salmon was really expensive but I bought it anyway as I like it better than sea bass.
but = concession. The beginning of the sentence (The salmon was really expensive) suggests that the speaker won't buy it, but then she "surprises" you by saying she did anyway.

But and However can express both concession and contrast (so are OK in your examples and in mine),
yet and still can only be used to express concession, (and so are not possible in your examples or in the first of mine)
on the other hand can only be used to express contrast (so would be OK in your examples and in my first, but not in my second).

Then on top of that you have the stylistic differences and frequency differences in spoken/written English - so Still I for instance occurs 8 times in the BNC spoken corpus and not at all in the written corpus.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 3rd, 2013, 02:34 am
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Default Re: conjunction

Hi Susan,

1.Do the three phrases 'on the other hand', 'and on the other hand' and 'but on the other hand' all mean the same thing? Is it more common to use 'and/but on the other hand' in spoken English?


2.Do you mean however would be fine in informal sentences, like "It is a fat dog. However, its owner is thin."?
Would 'however' be fine in spoken English, too?

Thanks a million.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 3rd, 2013, 10:23 am
Sue
 
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Default Re: conjunction

1. Yes and yes
2. The problem with the examples sentences that you've used is that they're so unnatural that they sound strange anyway. But However would normally be restricted to neutral and formal contexts, whether spoken or written. Here are some examples from spoken English, both in a neutral style :
a) But the theory is that if we, if we get to know what the, the purpose er of the job or, or the assignment is, er then we, we stand a slightly better chance of er getting a satisfied client at the end of the day. However, it's still a vague definition and we often find it more useful to er tidy that definition up by introducing, conformance with requirements.
b) ...because it was probably the first time they had formally quoted a price. Er, however erm because of the concern about er the overall cost of the programme and the production cost in nineteen ninety two
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  #7 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 4th, 2013, 02:57 am
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Default Re: conjunction

Hi Susan,
1.
Quote:
Quote susan53 View Post
The problem with the examples sentences that you've used is that they're so unnatural that they sound strange anyway.
Do you mean this one sounds strange with 'however' in it?
It is a fat dog. However, its owner is thin.

2.What does neutral style mean you mentioned in your post?

Thank you very much.
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  #8 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 5th, 2013, 05:22 am
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Default Re: conjunction

Yes. a) It's very unlikely that anyone would say this - what would be the context. b) the sentences are too short to sound natural. compare them with the authentic ones that I gave as examples. When sentences are as short as this it's much more likely that they'd be combined into one longer sentence by using a co-ordinating or subordinatiing conjunction. If you want to analyse language always use a concordancer and investigate real examples.

Neutral style is exactly what it sounds like - neither formal nor informal. I'm writing in neutral style at the moment. Most words/expressions are neutral in style - they can be used on their own when the speaker/writer doesn't want to be either formal or informal, or they can be combined with formal or informal features. So :

Informal : Awesome nosh. Thanks.
Neutral : Thanks for the lovely meal.

Neutral : I'm afraid you didn't get the job you applied for.
Formal : I regret to have to inform you that your application for the post of Assistant Manager was unsuccessful.
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  #9 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 7th, 2013, 01:22 am
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Default Re: conjunction

Hi Susan,

Could you please help me check if 'on the other hand' would sound natural instead of 'but' in these sentences?
Is there any subtle difference in meaning or in tone between but and on the other hand here?

1.Mike is tall. On the other hand, he is thin.

2.Mary is not a kind girl. On the other hand, she is smart.

3.Is it a black knife?
It is not a black knife. On the other hand, it is rusty.

4.Are oranges usually cheap here?
Yes, they are usually cheap here. On the other hand, they are expensive now.

Thank you very much for your help.
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  #10 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 7th, 2013, 02:52 am
Sue
 
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Default Re: conjunction

1+2. No - a) being tall and thin is quite usual so why would you want to use a contrast adverbial? b) because in both cases the sentences are too short. As I said above, if short clauses are used, it's more natural to join them in writing by using a co-ordinating conjunction to make one longer sentence. In spoken language there are no sentences, but the ideas would be juxtaposed in the same way. So a more natural phrasing would be :

1. Mike is tall and thin.
2. A : I don't think Mary is the right person for the job. B : Well, it's true that she isn't very kind - but she's quite smart.


3. There's no contrast here - rusty is not the opposite of black. And if someone asked me if a knife was black, why would I a) repeat the question b) mention it was rusty?? It doesn't make sense without a context. The dialogue would go something like :
A : Is the knife you're looking for black?
B: What? The handle? No, it's brown. It's got a brown handle and a rusty blade.

Here, it's clear why the speaker is giving these details - so that the listener has more chance of identifying the knife if she finds it.

3+ 4 These are clearly spoken contexts - and we don't speak in sentences but simply juxtapose or co-ordinate ideas - as in my example for (3) above. In addition, sentence connectors are used much less frequently except in more complex contexts. As above, when the proposition is very short and simple, juxtaposition or co-ordination is more usual. The dialogue in 4 might go something like :

A : Are oranges usually cheap here?
B : Usually, yes - but they're more expensive at the moment 'cos they're out of season.


To analyse language properly you must put it in a realistic context. This involves considering a multitude of factors such as :
- Who the participants are and their relationship
- Whether the discourse is spoken dialogue (short turns), spoken monologue (long turns) or written. All will have different features.
- Why they are saying/writing what they are saying/writing
and a lot of other factors which are less important in your examples.

It was the lack of the last factor (why) that made it impossible to analyse your sentences without changing them.

But as I said above, you should never invent language in order to analyse it. Take your examples from a concordancer.

Last edited by susan53 : Aug 7th, 2013 at 06:09 am.
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  #11 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 9th, 2013, 02:40 am
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Default Re: conjunction

Quote:
Quote susan53 View Post
3+ 4 These are clearly spoken contexts - and we don't speak in sentences but simply juxtapose or co-ordinate ideas - as in my example for (3) above.
Hi susan,
1.What does juxtapose and co-ordinate mean?

2.Can I use 'and' instead of but in the context?
A : I don't think Mary is the right person for the job. B : Well, it's true that she isn't very kind - but/and she's quite smart.

Thank you very much for your great help!
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  #12 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 9th, 2013, 03:29 am
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Default Re: conjunction

1. Juxtapose = place next to each other. Here are three genuine pieces of spoken English (from Crystal and Davy, (1975) Advanced Conversational English, Longman
a. ..it was lovely our one with the nightclub (p.52)
b. Sussex has super heath country lovely lovely sort of rolling heaths (p.80)
c. they'd be off and away little grey smooth sleeky things (p58)
The idea are simply placed next to each other.

Co-ordinate = link ideas together with a conjunction such as and, but, or :
..it took us 40 minutes to catch them and all we had to do was to get them out of the cage and into the bucket with the lid on but they were - they just went like this and they - you'd go you know and they'd shoot out through the bars of the cage and they'd be off and away little grey smooth sleeky things and we used in the end we devised a very good trap.... (p.58)

2. No. As I said above, the relationship between these two ideas is concession - a change in the direction of the discourse. So you need a concession connective like but. And is an addition connective. It indicates that the two idea are the same and therefore the discourse is continuing in the same direction. Compare :

a.I don't like vegetables but I eat them because I know they're good for me. If someone says I don't like vegetables, you expect them to continue so I never eat them . Here however the discourse changes direction and "surprises" you with the fact that s/he eats them all the time.

b. I love vegetables and I eat them every day. Here the discourse continues in the direction you'd expect it to. The two ideas are "the same".

So with the Mary example, consider these ideas :
She isn't very kind = negative trait
She's lazy = negative trait
She's quite smart = positive trait
So :

A : I don't think Mary is the right person for the job. B : Well, it's true that she isn't very kind - but she's quite smart.
B accepts that a negative trait exists but then changes direction to propose a positive trait. So the two ideas are different : negative /positive

A : I don't think Mary is the right person for the job. B : Yes, I agree. She isn't very kind and she's lazy too.
B states two negative traits. The two ideas are the same : positive / positive
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  #13 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 9th, 2013, 12:49 pm
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Default Re: conjunction

Hi susan,

Mike is tall and thin.

As you said, we should use 'and' here, but I think tall is positive and thin is negative (my opinion). Why can't we use 'but' here?

Thank you very much for your helpful explanation.
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  #14 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 10th, 2013, 04:57 am
Sue
 
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Default Re: conjunction

I didn't say it had to be positives and/or negatives- I said it had to be two ideas that were the same in some way. The positive and negatives of the examples were only an example. These two adjectives are the same because : tall = a physical quality; thin = a physical quality. They are two physical qualities.


Unqualified, as in your sentence, there is no way of telling whether they are positive or negative qualities - which is something entirely subjective. As you say, it is "in your opinion". For you, thin may be negative. For me it's very positive. So you would need to qualify it with an adverb to make your opinion clear. Compare :

Mike is tall and thin (neutral - two physical qualities co-ordinated)
Mike is very goodlooking, but he's horribly thin. (positive + negative qualities)
Mike is ridiculously tall and horribly thin (negative + negative qualities)
I wish I looked like Mike. He's really tall and wonderfully thin. (positive + positive qualities)
Mike is tall, but he's much too thin. (neutral + negative qualities)
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  #15 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 12th, 2013, 02:09 am
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Default Re: conjunction

Hi susan,

The example of 'on the other hand' is from my dictionary:

I know this job of mine isn't well paid; on the other hand/however/,but I don't have to work long hours.

Is there any subtle difference in meaning or in tone(strong or weak, etc.) between but, on the other hand and however if but and however are also fine here?

Does "on the other hand" always describe an opposite situation like the sentence above?

Thank you very much.
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  #16 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 12th, 2013, 05:01 am
Sue
 
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Default Re: conjunction

1. No difference.
2. Yes - as I said above, on the other hand is a contrast adverbial.
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  #17 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 14th, 2013, 02:29 am
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Default Re: conjunction

Hi susan,

1.He is a doctor, but he is not kind.

2.He is poor, but he is happy.

3.She is naughty, but she is not happy.

4.Is she very powerful?
No, she's not, but she is really quick.

1.The sentences above are all from my book. Does 'yet' sound natural if I use it instead of 'but' here?

2.Is 'yet' always uesed in formal context when meaning 'in spite of'?

Thank you very much for your comment.
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  #18 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 14th, 2013, 09:02 am
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Default Re: conjunction

1. Yes - but it makes it sound as if the speaker is surprised, as yet can only be used for concession. With but it's ambiguous - it's not clear if the speaker intends contrast or concession.

2. Not necessarily. Both could be used in neutral style:

He insisted on going out in spite of the torrential rain.
It was pouring with rain - yet he insisted on going out.
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  #19 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 14th, 2013, 09:02 am
Sue
 
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Default Re: conjunction

1. Yes - but it makes it sound as if the speaker is surprised, as yet can only be used for concession. With but it's ambiguous - it's not clear if the speaker intends contrast or concession.

2. Not necessarily. Both could be used in neutral style:

He insisted on going out in spite of the torrential rain.
It was pouring with rain - yet he insisted on going out.
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  #20 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 15th, 2013, 02:20 am
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Default Re: conjunction

Hi susan,

1.It was pouring with rain - yet he insisted on going out.
2.It was pouring with rain, but he insisted on going out.
3.It was pouring with rain; still, he insisted on going out.
4.It was pouring with rain; however, he insisted on going out.
5.It was pouring with rain; nevertheless, he insisted on going out.

What's the subtle difference in meaning or degree of surprise between but, yet, still, however and nevertheless here?

Thanks a million.
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