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Is the sentence "I didn't marry you because you were rich." same as " I married you not because you were rich but for another reason."

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    The first one is ambiguous (although it can always be resolved by context). It could mean the same as the second, but it could also mean "the reason I didn't marry you is that you were rich". – Peter Shor Sep 18 '14 at 12:37
  • Why does this question remind me of a cellphone? Maybe because yesterday, this question was asked on our sister-site, English Language Learners :) – oerkelens Sep 18 '14 at 12:51
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Perhaps "I didn't marry you because you were rich." was intended to mean " I married you not because you were rich but for another reason."

However, it could also be interpreted as meaning "I declined to marry you, because I didn't want a rich wife."

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They both express the same idea -- that a reason other than wealth is why the speaker married the subject. The first sentence is more likely to be ambiguous, as Peter Shor noted:

  • is the speaker married to the subject, for a reason other than wealth?
  • is the speaker not married to the subject, because they're rich?

In either case, a native speaker would probably expect to hear a parallel structure for each sentence. For example:

I didn't marry you because you were rich. [I married you because you were my soulmate.]

and:

I married you not because you were rich, [but because you were my soulmate].

Without the parallel construction, the first sentence sounds a little more natural.

  • See Peter Shor comment above – Mina Sep 18 '14 at 12:45
  • Yes, I saw it. His answer is helpful for me. – Yuuichi Tam Sep 18 '14 at 13:04

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