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I'm translating an English hymn to Italian, but I'm not sure about the meaning of the structure

If + subject + but + verb

Is the sense "should (or would) call your name?" (uncertainty, possibility etc.)

or is it "everything except calling your name?" (exception etc.)

I'm an Italian native speaker and this is quite difficult for me.

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closed as general reference by RegDwigнt Jan 15 '12 at 13:53

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

3 Answers

The word but is acting as an adverb here, modifying the verb call.

It could also be read:

If I only call your name, or

If I simply call your name

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"But" as an adverb:

Merely, only.

Since that day, my mood has changed but a little.

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It means "if I call your name ..." another example:

If I but touch His clothes, I shall be cured

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this answer implies that the word "but" has no meaning at all and can be simply removed from the sentence and not change the meaning. That is incorrect. –  tenfour Jan 16 '12 at 0:45
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