if only...not to mention

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flyingcat2008

Senior Member
china,chino
As holidays go, Thanksgiving is in some ways the most philosophical. Today we try not to take fo granted the things we almost always take for granted. We try, if only in that brief pause before the eating begins, to see through the well-worn patterns of our lives to what lies behind them. Today is one of the few times most Americans consciously set desire aside, if only because desire is incompatible with gratitude----not to mention the abundance---that Thanksgiving summons. (Editorial of The New York Times)

Hi, everyone!
The last sentence is hard to understand. I am totally lost for such structure. so I wish to help me to explain the sentence.

Most americans set desire aside, only because desire...with gratitude.??? Then what's the last sentence?

Thanks!!
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    It's a bit of a mess for me. You really should be able to break it into two thoughts:

    Today is one of the few times most Americans consciously set desire aside,
    if only because desire is incompatible with the gratitude that Thanksgiving summons.
    if only because desire is incompatible with the abundance that Thanksgiving summons.

    But when you do, you realize that "gratitude" needs "the" just like "the abundance."

    As for meaning, perhaps the writer is saying that desire can be set aside because there is so much abundance at Thanksgiving that there is really nothing more to wish for at that moment.
     
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