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but but but but  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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The word "but" is interesting.  It pretty much negates the previous statement. 

"You are a really terrific person, but ...." (not)

So I think that if our mission is to never suggest that anybody here on permies.com is anything less than perfect, I would like to ask that when responding to someone else, please don't start your post with "but".  It sorta sends the message that everything that person said is false - which implies that that person says false things.



 
                          
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I think you are wrong, but then again you may be right..........
 
Tyler Ludens
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I'll give at a try! 

No buts!

 
gary gregory
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Strange but true.
 
Robert Ray
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Butabing butaboom


 
Rob Alexander
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Gotta disagree with you boss..
"but" is a Coordinating Conjunction, and in the context that we're discussing, generally suggests a contrast that is unexpected in light of the first clause: "I am a permaculturist, but I keep a dog as a pet."
The "but" doesn't negate the first clause,  it adds additional, modifying information.

You've also got me wondering,
"our mission is to never suggest that anybody here on permies.com is anything less than perfect"
Are we all perfect? Really? Then why do we have any problems at all?
I think the reason why most of us are here at Permies is that we're not perfect, and we'd like to be better.
I know for sure that I'm a loooong way from perfect, and I appreciate people who can point out where I'm wrong, because then I can change my ideas and move forward.
Are critical thinking and disagreement not important parts of the quest for knowledge?
 
Tyler Ludens
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If we accept that everyone here isn't perfect, then we have no need to suggest that they aren't, as it is a given.  That is, there is no need to point out each others faults as human beings.  Pointing out personal faults is generally considered "not nice" in polite company.

In my opinion. 

 
John Polk
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Men socialize by insulting each other, but they don't really mean it.
Women socialize by complimenting each other, but they don't really mean it.

But is a conditional modifier, not a negator.
 
Burra Maluca
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Presumably you never read the recent post (now deleted) that ran something like "I don't usually troll, but..." 

You'd be amazed how many times 'but' is used like that on these boards, but (oops) they usually get themselves deleted.
 
Sarah Chapman
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One of my favorite quotes from a woman who teaches public communication skills..

"There isn't any place you use 'but' in a sentence where you can't substitute 'and' for a more positive statement. 'But' is limiting, 'and' is full of possibility." - Julie Anne Jones
 
ellen rosner
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Interesting... Werner Erhard [of EST] used to also suggest substituting 'and' for 'but', as in
"I wanted to go the beach, and it is raining."

Personally, I don't have a position on 'but'.

sarahpc wrote:
One of my favorite quotes from a woman who teaches public communication skills..

"There isn't any place you use 'but' in a sentence where you can't substitute 'and' for a more positive statement. 'But' is limiting, 'and' is full of possibility." - Julie Anne Jones
 
allen lumley
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My problem is I have no chance of finding my - and sometimes its sunny ! Big Al
 
Eric Thompson
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This reminds me of the times I've heard "but" used as a complete twist in intent, like:

"I'm definitely not a racist, but...<some rant bordering on the most racist thing ever heard>"

..just take it as a warning pause that you may want to quit listening...
 
Julia Winter
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Yes, that's my "favorite" use of the conjunction.

"I'm not sexist, but. . . ."

Generally, whatever follows the "but," will knock your socks off. It's as if the user thinks it is a magic construction, shielding them from the truth of their condition.
 
Fred Morgan
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Are you saying my but is too big?! lol

 
Micky Ewing
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Rob Alexander wrote:You've also got me wondering,
"our mission is to never suggest that anybody here on permies.com is anything less than perfect"
Are we all perfect? Really? Then why do we have any problems at all?

We're all human (the spambots seem to be under control), so no, nobody here's perfect. And I think Paul would be fine with anybody pointing out their own flaws and foibles. As an imperfect human, though, I tend to react badly when others take that liberty, and get a strong urge to respond in kind. This leads to flame wars, and the Internet is full of them. Paul's done a mavellous job of cultivating an atmosphere of civility and good will here that is a rare thing in the digital world. Achieving it has required a few rules and (I imagine) a lot of policing that may be inconvenient at times, but (oops!) I think the effectiveness of the no criticism rule in creating an atmosphere of safety and acceptance has resulted in a great learning environment.

As for the 'but' rule, I've hear the same thing several times. Not sold strongly enough on the idea to advocate it, but I'm definitely more mindful now of the negative side to this word.
 
allen lumley
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Guilty as charged ! But I expect to throw myself on the mercy of the court ! Big AL
 
Burra Maluca
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Just bumping this thread up after putting a post on probation for a classic line of "Not being racist, but..."

Really guys, the 'be nice' rule isn't difficult to remember. If you feel the need to preface something with 'not being racist, but', then you know damned well you're being racist. Take it somewhere else please!
 
Marco Banks
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Everybody has a big but.

As one of my good friends often says, everything you say after the but negates everything you said before.
 
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