but acquires its own mat (Alan Bennett)

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Mr Bones

Senior Member
España - Español
Hello, friends.

I'm reading a story by Alan Bennett and there is an idea I seem unable to grasp, so I could do with some help.
Context: he's talking about how his mother took to practicing arts & crafts and filled their house with her own creations.

At one stage it leads to a frenzy for making lampshades, and these pink satin creations, generally with a hanging fringe, eventually come to feature in every room in the house. Another time it is crochet, when there is no ornament but acquires its own mat.

However hard I think, I can't understand the bit about crochet. Could anyone explain to me what it means.

Thanks a million in advance.

Mr Bones
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    No, it's "acquires", london - see here. (Alan Bennett, Telling Tales)

    The idea is that all the ornaments end up with a crocheted mat underneath them;).
     

    Mr Bones

    Senior Member
    España - Español
    Thank you, Loob.

    I'm starting to get the idea but I'm still a bit thick today. Why does he say when there is no ornament? What does it mean?

    Thanks again.

     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Ah - it's "no ornament but", Mr Bones.

    There is no ornament but acquires = There is no ornament that doesn't acquire = Every ornament acquires.

    You're not being thick!:D
     

    Mr Bones

    Senior Member
    España - Español
    Got it, Loob! Many thanks! This use of but might be rather difficult for non native speakers. By the way, the book is lovely!

    Many thanks again, you've been of great service.
    Bones
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I believe you Loob, but I can't find the quote in the link you posted.;)

    Mr. Bones, 'there is...but + verb' is not a common construction these days . It means there is no ornament in the house that does not acquire (get) its own crocheted mat.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Thank you for mentioning the book, Bones - I've just ordered a copy from my local library:):thumbsup:
     

    Mr Bones

    Senior Member
    España - Español
    Hi, London calling. Thank you for your comment. Yes, I think Bennett's style in this stories is deceptively simple, as they say. ;)
     

    Mr Bones

    Senior Member
    España - Español
    Hi, Loob.

    I'm glad to hear that. And, please, let me make a further suggestion. These stories, all about Bennett's family, were written for TV, so there is also a DVD where he reads them. I have to say that as a non native speaker, not very knowledgeable of what a provincial English town was like in the fifties, I was absolutely glued to it. So I hope you enjoy it!:)
     

    Mr Bones

    Senior Member
    España - Español
    Hi, London calling. That's great! Have a look at the DVD too. It comes together with the famous Talking Head series, which is wonderful, although completely different.
     
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