Saturday, March 16, 2013

Understanding the Word, "But" in Analysis

photo by Christina
"This is a great blog, but..."

This is another area in which caution must be used.

The word "but" should always be observed carefully, particularly observing the words that follow the word "but" in comparison to what preceded it. It can refute what preceded it, or can be used to compare, or even negate what preceded it.

"I love you, but I am leaving you" is a good example.  The word "but" is the single most important word as it refutes, negates, or, in some sense, lessens the love the subject has.

"I love you, but I can't live with you" is another.

Does it completely negate the love?  Not necessarily.  It negates living together.

"I like pizza, but I love lobster" has the word "but", yet it does not negate liking pizza, but only compares it.

We must be careful how we word our analysis and how we conclude our analysis.

It is safe to always recognize the word "but", but we must also make sure we are staying within the setting.

"I have but one..." is an expression I have heard  using various nouns.  This may be a regional expression, like being "wicked hot" or "wicked good" in Maine.  "I have but one sports coat" a man once said when asked about why, in the debate of "North Versus South" (War Between the States) where the man representing the North was wearing a gray suit, while the Southern apologist was wearing a blue suit.

"I want to help search for my son but..." will be noted as, in cause and effect, negating helping search.

In some context, the word but is, in deed, a negation of what preceded it, yet in other usages, it is only a comparison, with the words after the word but considered a 'greater' or more positive comparison.

Be careful to discern between refutation and negation, and simple comparison.  The simple comparison is, 'less' and 'more' and not a refutation or denial.

Note refutation versus comparison.  Keep a strong view on context.




14 comments:

Anonymous said...

If someone says, "I never said that. I said, ..." Does this appear to be a lie? We have the word never, and the word that. Does the clarification mean a reliable denial?

Anonymous said...

Peter,
I wrote pros and cons about the ‘but’ word before I finished reading your SA.

We almost agree, but …

The word ‘but’ sets a condition that was not formulated in the ‘before’.
No excuses, ever.
Not even in the ‘after’.

Anonymous said...

… disclaimer.

Anonymous said...

For anon @ 10:14

‘ … ‘
listening for a claim or disclaimer.
Proceed, please.

Peter Hyatt said...

Anonymous said...
Peter,
I wrote pros and cons about the ‘but’ word before I finished reading your SA.

We almost agree, but …

The word ‘but’ sets a condition that was not formulated in the ‘before’.
No excuses, ever.
Not even in the ‘after’.
March 16, 2013 at 10:17 AM >>

Mine is a very short article which is not meant to be exhaustive, only a 'slow down' warning to not jump to negation.

Your point is valid and is part of what I am attempting to say. I will post a more complete article in the future.

Peter Hyatt said...

Anonymous 10:14:

"Never" is not a substitute for a reliable denial, on its own. We call it "unreliable" by itself, though it may be true.

"I didn't say that. I have never said that!" would be an example of a reliable denial. Even though "I have never said that" may be true, it is not enough for us to conclude it is true.

Do you see the difference?

If not, please weigh in, as I invite others, so I can know if more needs to be addressed.

Peter

Anonymous said...

I am happy to see you clearly define the different meanings of the uses of the word "but". I have seen several of your posters repeatedly state their erroneous belief that the use of the word "but" negates everything else the poster or speaker said when it does not in most cases. Maybe now they will understand the difference.

BostonLady said...

Interesting to note. I was watching an interview with Jodi Arias when she was brought into custody with the investigators. She clearly stated "I did not kill Travis" "I did not do it". Now, unfortunately, the clip did not show what the investigators had asked her to prompt her response. But, it did cause me to wonder about a reliable denial. This interview was 6 weeks after the murder of Travis, not 2 years after.

However, then I watched Jodi in her 48 hours or Dateline (sorry I can't remember which) interview and she was unable to say the same. Jodi would say "I would never hurt Travis" or she would refer to his death as "when Travis passed away". The TV interview was quite a bit later than those earlier interviews with the investigators.

It makes me wonder how the question was framed to Jodi by the investigators. Jodi appeared to be in the free editing process with the TV interview as she was just talking out on her own, not prompted by a specific question.

I wanted to mention this because it caught my attention and I found it interesting and surprised that Jodi was able to say, what is identified as a reliable denial "I did not kill Travis". Is this because she is one of those few who can lie upon a lie? Watching her on the stand in the courtroom she is able to lie with ease and makes things up on the fly.

Sorry for the ramble. :)

Anonymous said...

Please help find Ayla
Boston Lady
JA has also admitted to the brutal,horrific murder.

~ABC said...

Agreed Anon @1:22. Thank you so much Peter. I've seen some people going around the internet using SA in ways that don't seem accurate or appropriate to me. They are misusing the principles to in effect bully people. They suppose themselves to be experts. SA can be a bit like a drunk with a loaded gun so it's great to see you elaborate on some of the finer points!

Anonymous said...

Please help find Ayla
Boston Lady
Maybe what you are seeing in JA is the nature of a psychopath. From what I've heard about the trial she has a shocking lack of remorse.

Anonymous said...

Please help finf Ayla
Perhaps she has a machiaveilianism personality; from wikipedia :Machiavellianism is one of the three personality traits referred to as the dark triad, along with narcissism and psychopathy.

Carder Gravitt said...

Peter,
Is the reason, "I have never said that", not enough for us to conclude it's true, because it's not a reliable denial?

Reliable denial:
1.  The pronoun "I"
2. The past tense verb " did not" or " didn't
3. The specific allegation.


Hobnob said...

We would need the subject to tell what the THAT is they have never said.

Never doesn't mean didn't.

For there to be a THAT, there has to be a THIS.

If you never said that, what did you say?