but called it a “too rare” step

Ali Smith

Senior Member
Urdu - Pakistan
Hi,

President Biden praised the verdict, but called it a “too rare” step to deliver “basic accountability” for Black Americans.

(The New York Times)

Would but called it "too rare" a step to deliver "basic accountability" for Black Americans. have worked too?
 
  • kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The two have different meanings, to my mind.

    1) President Biden praised the verdict, but called it a “too rare” step to deliver “basic accountability” for Black Americans.​
    2) President Biden praised the verdict, but called it "too rare" a step to deliver "basic accountability" for Black Americans.

    1 talks about a step that, by his judgement, doesn't happen often enough. It accomplished the act of delivering basic accountability in this particular case (the only case where it applies). He thinks it should not be so rare. Accountability should also be delivered more often in other cases (via other similar verdicts).

    2 is using the format of of a common phrase that means something else.

    It is too X to accomplish Y.

    - He is too slow to win the race. (to accomplish winning the race)

    - She is too ugly to become a beauty queen. (to accomplish becoming a beauty queen)

    - It is too rare to deliver basic accountability. (A verdict like this doesn't happen often enough to successfully accomplish the goal of delivering basic accountability)

    But in this case it has delivered basic accountability. Each case is a world of its own. One verdict can't deliver accountability for an unrelated case.
     
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