I always benefit from a refresher lesson when it comes to grammar. So here's one for you, and if you'd like to see more click on the grammar tag at the bottom of this post or on the sidebar. This post was originally published here back in April 2013.
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Admit it: You thought BUT was merely a conjunction. Right? No big deal, but wait! There's more to learn here, but first let me interrupt myself ...
This month is the A to Z Challenge, and each day (skipping Sundays) I will be posting a grammar tip for the letter of the day. So if you'd like to polish your grammar (or debate mine) come back often and share in the fun.
Since yesterday was the letter A, I chose to feature Arlee Bird, founder of the challenge, but if you'd like a grammar tip for the letter A - CHECK THIS OUT: APOSTROPHE S!
... but for today ...
The too-frequent use of but can lead to problems.
"Particulary awkward is one but closely following another, thus making a contrast to a contrast, or a reservation to a reservation. This is easily corrected by rearrangement."
AWKWARD: "Our country had vast resources but seemed almost wholly unprepared for war. But within a year it had created an army of four million."
BETTER: "Our country seemed almost wholly unprepared for war, but it had vast resources. Within a year it had created an army of four million."
(Taken from THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE by Strunk and White, page 42)
What do you think? Is the second example easier to understand? Easier to read?
I always try to keep but use to a minimum (this is hard to type without sniggering) Sorry for that childish aside! You could also have used a 'however' before Within a year.ReplyDelete
Rosalind Adam is Writing in the Rain
I think the 2nd is more clear. I'm not sure how frequently I use the word "but", however, you've made me aware and I will look for it from now on!ReplyDelete
I probably overuse it until I reread my sentence and then update. Second sentence is much easier, but that is usually not what flows from my fingers the first time around! Thanks for dropping by my A-Z :)ReplyDelete
Absolutely easier to read. Strunk does it again. The buts of the world are now safe.ReplyDelete
But it's a great word, isn't it? I happily misuse it, but would probably re-write a sentence if it repeated itself.ReplyDelete
When I was 4, my brother Robert told me that 'but' was a bad word. I spent the whole day trying to avoid it, BUT I couldn't. Felt like a terrible sinner.ReplyDelete
The second one is much better! I was told never to start a sentence with 'But', but I break that rule occasionally!ReplyDelete
Heck, I misuse my butt, let alone my grammar. Great theme for A to Z, and I'm following along.ReplyDelete
Love your theme. I'm so bad about ands and buts. But (LOL) I am improving :)ReplyDelete
Your "awkward" example shows what seems to be an all-too-common problem with adult writing-too many unnecessary works (the second "but" is not needed, and I could make a case for "wholly"). Good theme!ReplyDelete
Poor, overused 'but'! Great kick in the pants (pun intended_ for us writers to examine our words! Looking forward to the rest of your alphabet!ReplyDelete
Jessica Topper/Blogging on the Brink
Excellent theme...grammar junkee here as well. Looking forward to future posts!ReplyDelete
Love the grammar theme. I'll try to stay off your topic, but I can't make any promises. heheheReplyDelete
What a great idea for the challenge! I can't wait to come polish my grammar skills.ReplyDelete
Yay! Grammar! A favourite topic of mine. I'll be looking forward to your tips as April progresses. (And, yes, that second paragraph definitely has a more elegant flow than the first.)ReplyDelete
Thank you for stopping my blog. It's nice to meet you too. Grammar. Oh my, I'm going to have to be on my best behavior. Yes, the second paragraph was much better.ReplyDelete
I love grammar posts. Perhaps there's a diagnosis for that. I'll be back again. Hope you'll visit, too.ReplyDelete
Nice examples. The second is definitely stronger.ReplyDelete
It's almost like a disease. I have this problem 'but' I'm getting better. I check for it constantly. Just stopping by to say 'hi' in the a-z. Thanks!ReplyDelete
What a great wealth of information! I love that you used a theme and chose grammar for that theme. What writer could not do without a refresher course?ReplyDelete
I'm visiting from the A-Z Road Trip. I will be back to read more. :)
I love grammar posts. I am a huge, huge nerd, and am now very excited to follow your A-Z challenge. BUT... nope, actually, but nothing. I'm just excited.ReplyDelete
It’s amazing to visit again n again coming to your blogs the superb effort is here.GrammarlyReplyDelete