There is not a conductor <but> resists

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Gregor1

Senior Member
Chinese
There is not a conductor but resists the flow of the electrical charges.

How to parse this sentence from a pure grammatical point of view? Does "but" acts as relative pronoun like "that"?
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    There is not a conductor but resists the flow of the electrical charges.

    It's an old syntax, rarely used nowadays in the US. You can replace "but" with a few words:

    There is not a conductor except for one that resists the flow of the electrical charges.

    This means:

    With no exceptions, every conductor resists the flow of the electrical charges.
     

    Gregor1

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    It is the normal conjunction of contrast.
    If "but" functions as a conjunction, then a complete sentence should follow it. In this sense, There is not a conductor but the one resists the flow of the electrical charges.
     

    Gregor1

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    There is not a conductor but resists the flow of the electrical charges.

    It's an old syntax, rarely used nowadays in the US. You can replace "but" with a few words:

    There is not a conductor except for one that resists the flow of the electrical charges.

    This means:

    With no exceptions, every conductor resists the flow of the electrical charges.
    It makes perfect sense right now. However, I am wondering what memeber of the sentence it serves. Like tunaafi said below, it acts as a conjunction, that being the case, why isn't there a subject?
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    It makes perfect sense right now. However, I am wondering what memeber of the sentence it serves. Like tunaafi said below, it acts as a conjunction, that being the case, why isn't there a subject?
    It's not working as a conjunction.

    It is an old fashioned formal usage where but is equivalent to "who doesn't " or "that doesn't."

    I recognize it from reading 19th century literature.

    I can't invent a sample off the top of my heaf because I would never use it this way.
     
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