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Tom: "Follow the rules!"

Jane: "Thank you, I will follow your advice and keep my mind open for new ideas?"

What if Jane wanted to say:

Jane: Yes, I will follow the rules" but nevertheless "if I get a better idea I would use this and skip the rules!"

If I didn't know Tom's previous statement, I would think Jane is quoting Tom's "keep your mind open for new ideas!"

  • Can Jane use "AND" in this context or is there a better word to connect the two sentences of "Thank you, I will follow your advice" and "keep my mind open for new ideas?"
  • You can either rollback the edit, or improve on it further. I may have misinterpreted your intention, but I believe you are asking about "quotations" in reported speech. – Mari-Lou A Jan 8 '16 at 10:16
  • You catched the idea of my question. Thank you for your corrections! ^^ – NECIP Jan 8 '16 at 10:20
  • It's "caught," not "catched." – Benjamin Harman Jan 8 '16 at 10:38
  • If you're not in a math or computer programming class, "and" does not imply that both conditions are claimed to be true in all cases. Jane could very well have meant "but" in the first sentence. (As to why she wouldn't say "but" in that case, there are a number of reasons.) – Hot Licks Jan 8 '16 at 13:58
  • This is somewhat unclear. Tom never says "keep your mind open for new ideas!". Can you elaborate on what the situation really is? – Mitch Jan 8 '16 at 15:00
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There are a couple of things that one forgets that one has learned to overcome.

We start off learning language by example but eventually some learn in language classes that there are strict patterns. Also, we come to believe that individual words have single definitive meanings.

Language isn't logical, or rather there's lots in logic that is different from the natural language it was inspired by (and the logical meaning is more constructed by mathematicians for their purposes rather than what people actually use it for. Also, words often have more than one meaning.

'And' in your sentence does not correspond to the logical/boolean 'and'. It means more like 'then' or 'by consequence'.

The logical 'and' is intended to capture truth valued statements. When you are discussing actions like in your sentence, 'and' is more of a marker of a sequence: "X and Y and Z" -> "I expect X will occur which will cause Y to occur then Z will follow".

The Oxford English Dictionary records a number of relevant entries but there is one that is closest to this situation:

  1. Introducing a consequence.

a. Introducing the historical sequel or consequence of a fact.

1954 G. Vidal Messiah ii. i. 42 The police chief evidently knew all about him >and the conversation was short. 1966 L. Bruce How to talk Dirty i. 17 He cashed the bottles and I got my >twenty cents. 2004 R. Tames Robert Adam 5 His education was disrupted by illness and he >dropped out of university.

b. Introducing the predicted consequence or fulfilment of a command, or of a >hypothesis put imperatively, or elliptically.

1933 D. L. Sayers Murder must Advertise iv. 72 Spray with Sanfect and you're >safe. 1946 R. A. Knox Retreat for Priests vii. 69 Drive out nature with a >pitchfork..and she will still come back. Shut up a beaver in the Zoo, and it will >still make dams.

As to your question about changing the meaning of Jane's original response to one where she holds two things:

  • she may follow the rules
  • if she gets a better idea she will skip the rules

then she should say:

I will follow the rules, but if I get a better idea I would use this and skip the rules!

'but' is the alternative to and where you want to emphasize that the second clause is possibly contrary to the first.

  • I'm confused. What the OP is saying is that "keeping my mind open for new ideas" is not the consequence of "following your advice". He/she is afraid that's what people will think if they hear Jane's statement. So shouldn't the conclusion of what you quoted be that 'and' is not a good choice, or am I missing something? – Yay Jan 8 '16 at 13:30
  • @Yay Good catch. I was answering the question in the title and the final question out of context. I will modify to take the inner question into account. – Mitch Jan 8 '16 at 14:53
  • I'm afraid we are slipping into philosophical spheres if we don't consider both statements. I asked Mrs. Google about the word "and" she guide me to dictionary.reference.com/browse/and?s=t This word can be confused. Jane should say : "I mean AND in its boolean significance to define more clarity!" ^^ or is it better to split the sentence in two statements since the word "AND" is not a consequence nor is it an addition. – NECIP Jan 8 '16 at 14:56
  • @NECIP It is not clear yet exactly what you want Jane to mean. Once you clarify, then I can say what she should say. (obviously avoid using 'and' in your explanation unless it is an obvious usage) – Mitch Jan 8 '16 at 15:06
  • @Mitch, here is the story: Jane had an idea for a new approch to solve a software problem and presented it Tom. Tom is an experienced programmer and told her to follow the proven rules of softwareenginieering. She was thankfull for his good advices and would follow these. But on the other hand if she get an other new insipiration to solve her problem she would prefer it if it would work better. – NECIP Jan 8 '16 at 15:33
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Jane's use of the conjunction "and" is correct in this context. There is no better word to connect the main clause "I will follow your advice" with the predicate "keep my mind open for new ideas.

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