I am tiring of some constructions. My complaint is they contain the word “not” or “no,” those words inherently negative. Is there a way to recast these sentences positively?
Original: Not only is the bread exceptional, the butter is as well.
I now prefer: The bread and butter are exceptional. OR The bread and butter are both exceptional.
Original: But that’s not the only thing to like about Portland’s restaurants.
I now prefer: There are other things to like about Portland’s restaurants.
Original: That’s not to say the service could have been better.
I now prefer: The service could have been better.
Timeout! What is that original sentence really saying? Now that I write it, I am confused about its meaning.
Original: Notwithstanding the exceptions noted before, we proceed with the matter.
I now prefer: With the exceptions noted before, we proceed with the matter.
A current abomination, the use of “so.”
Original: So, we took the next train to Hamburg.
I always prefer: We took the next train to Hamburg.
OR, explain the circumstance. Because we missed the first train, we took the next train to Hamburg.
Enlarging this post’s discussion, I am troubled by the phrase “a lot.” It bothers me for reasons I can’t explain. Fowler tried to alleviate people’s concern with this quote from Churchill:
“The chance of an annihilating victory has perhaps been offered at the moment of deployment, had been offered again an hour later when Scheer made his great miscalculation, and for the third time when a little before midnight the Commander in chief decided to reject the evidence of the Admiralty messages. Three times is a lot.”
I continue to be troubled.