with little notice, was not helped by

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i9en

Senior Member
Russian
Hello everyone!

I have two phrases in one sentence that I don't completely understand.
Here is an extract from Cambridge Grammar for CAE and Proficiency p.148:

I really feel that some of the criticism of my fire officers are unfair, although the fact that today is a public holiday did mean that many of our staff weren't here to help with the rescue. However, we warned residents yesterday that they might have to evacuate their houses with little notice, and the difficulty in evacuating people from their houses wasn't helped by the fact that they wanted to take large amounts of personal belongings with them.

1) Does with little notice mean the same as at short notice?
2) wasn't helped by the fact that, as I understand from the context it means: the difficulty in evacuating people from their houses increased due to the fact that they wanted to take large amounts of personal belongings with them.
Still, I don't understand why wasn't helped by the fact that is in negative and it's not difficulty was helped by the fact that here.

Could you advise, please?
 
  • Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, to your first question.
    Evacuating people is difficult and it's more diffcult when those people want to take a lot of things with them. 'Not helped by the fact that' is a turn of phrase meaning 'made more difficult by the fact that...'.
     

    i9en

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Evacuating people is difficult and it's more diffcult when those people want to take a lot of things with them. 'Not helped by the fact that' is a turn of phrase meaning 'made more difficult by the fact that...'.
    'Not helped by the fact that' is that a fixed phrase?
    I can't get it because I interpret the sentence this way: the difficulty wasn't helped by the fact that - the difficulty wasn't increased by the fact that and this interpretation seems to be incorrect.
    Why isn't it the difficulty was helped by the fact that and why do we use "not" in this phrase?

    Edited: The only idea I could think of is "was not helped by" = "was not improved by or was not compensated by"
     
    Last edited:

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    "was not helped by" = "was not improved by
    :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

    From the speaker's viewpoint, something that would be helpful would be something that reduced the difficulty. The evacuees' desires, made the situation more difficult, so the difficulty wasn't helped by their actions.
     
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