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Question
Dear Ted:

Why did you use the conjunction "and" instead of "but" in the sentence below?

Why did you write one thing yesterday AND write a completely different thing today?

Also, how would the sentence have read if you had used "but"?

Thank you,

Paolo

P.S. Is the question "Also, how would the sentence HAVE READ if you HAD USED 'but'?" correctly formulated or should I have written, "Also, how would the sentence READ if you HAD USED 'but'?" -- Would you please give me some alternatives to these questions?

Answer
Dear Paolo:


Why did you use the conjunction "and" instead of "but" in the sentence below?

Why did you write one thing yesterday AND write a completely different thing
today?

Also, how would the sentence have read if you had used "but"?

*** I used AND because I wanted the two clauses to be equal.  I could have used BUT.  Using "but" as the conjunction would have made a stronger emphasis on the second clause.  Either way is acceptable.

Thank you,

Paolo

P.S. Is the question "Also, how would the sentence HAVE READ if you HAD USED
'but'?" correctly formulated or should I have written, "Also, how would the
sentence READ if you HAD USED 'but'?" -- Would you please give me some
alternatives to these questions?

*** I prefer your second version with "read."  Using the present perfect "have read" is also correct.

An alternative sentence would begin with "What would the sentence mean . . . .?"  You could also start with "What is the difference between . . . . ?"

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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