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Can 'but' mean 'instead'? Options
Untergang
Posted: Tuesday, October 03, 2017 2:43:37 AM
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A husband makes mating signals toward his wife who are somewhat cold towards him.

"She did not refuse him, but went upstairs meekly, and let him undress her as he liked to do...."
(Clive Barker: Hellbound Heart)

Could I write the above sentence as:

She did not refuse him, instead went upstairs meekly...
Romany
Posted: Tuesday, October 03, 2017 4:02:12 AM
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

No, Untergang,

One can't simply exchange one for the other. In fact, in many cases the two words are used in conjunction: "She should have gone right but instead turned left."

'instead' signals the choice between two different options.
'but' signals only that, for a variety of reasons, something that was expected either did or did not take place.

But I'd also like to mention that a man "makes mating signals" is not something we would say in English. Phrases about "mating signals" are restricted to discussions of animal behaviour.

(And yes - we *are* animals; but we don't like to be reminded of it!).

Untergang
Posted: Tuesday, October 03, 2017 4:33:57 AM
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I would like to clarify a bit then.

What I am curious about is that does the bold part means this:

She did not refuse him, on the contrary went upstairs meekly...

So for example the reader or the woman thinks that she will be against the man's desires but she is not, she wents with him.

OR

The bold parts wants to say that although the woman went with the man she did it with some passive defiance.

So I don't know that the "but went upstairs meekly" means an indifference or some passive-aggressive sign.
Untergang
Posted: Tuesday, October 03, 2017 5:53:54 AM
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Joined: 7/10/2016
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From a later passage it become clear to me now. Thank you for the help!
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