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Nuance ... Options
Jagadeesh Bangalore
Posted: Saturday, June 8, 2019 3:06:11 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/26/2014
Posts: 399
Neurons: 633,655
Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Just now came across a quotation attributed to Richard Bach -

Quote:
I'm here not because I am supposed to be here, or because I'm trapped here, but because I'd rather be with you than anywhere else in the world. --- Richard Bach


Wondering how the meaning would change if the same were reworded as -
"I'm not here because I am supposed to ... " or even,

"I'm neither here because I am supposed to be here, nor because ... "

May I request our experts for their opinions, explanations?

Thanks in advance
thar
Posted: Saturday, June 8, 2019 4:03:00 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 23,041
Neurons: 93,553
It could be said that way, but it would be spoken with appropriate stress. The result is the same.


I'm not here because (that is not the reason)

I'm here because (that is the reason)



But that way is just showing the reason is negated. It is setting out immediately that they are here. It is a more positive statement. I am here. Then you can emphasise the "not" in the reason.
It is a more literary, oratorical way of saying it. More profound. It is the sort of thing that gets quoted.

I'm here

not because (not the reason)

but because (this is the reason I am here)

The emphasis is more on why you are not, and contrast why you are.


In normal speech, you would say
I'm not here to see you, I'm here to see your brother.
Because saying "I'm here", like it is some important statement, makes no sense there.

But in this line it is important. I am here. I exist. I have a life and an effect on the world. Why do I exist? What is my place in the cosmos?


If you wanted to say why you had turned up at this person's door - if you being there was the important point, and if you wanted to make it sound like a quote, like you are saying something profound , it would be
I am here not to be your enemy, but your friend.


The repetition is part of the oratorical style
I am here
not because...
or because....
but because....


using neither-nor is personal style, but it often feels clumsy and 'not - or' is much more common. Here there is one negative, and one positive. Not - but. Simple contrast. The fact the negative is two parts is not the important bit.

I am here
not because...... or because....
but because...

Putting in neither-nor lessens that impact. But that is what I can say looking at the actual speech. It was probably not a natural thing for them to have said anyway. Neither-nor is not that common or natural in modern speech.
Jagadeesh Bangalore
Posted: Sunday, June 9, 2019 2:53:47 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/26/2014
Posts: 399
Neurons: 633,655
Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Applause Applause Applause

Thank you very much Thar
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