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I hear sentences like

Just because he is old doesn't mean he is slow

a lot, and I don't like them. Is the alternative

Just because he is old he doesn't need to be slow

easy to parse and understand in spoken english?

I am asking because my suggestion is modeled after the German construction, thus might be unnatural and confusing to natives' ears that expect another structure (Maybe natives might hear it as "The reason that no one requires him to be faster is simply that he is old").

I could also give up on the 'Just because' altogether, and say "The fact that ... doesn't imply that...", but I am looking for something that I can use in speaking without sounding like a computer.

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"Just because he is old, he doesn't need to be slow" implies that he is slow, and that he is choosing to be slow, or being slow due to some failing on his part.

That's a totally different meaning to "Just because he is old doesn't mean he is slow" - in fact, you're not making any statement at all about whether he is actually slow or not, but you're saying that he might not be slow, and that this might be surprising in some way to the person to whom you're speaking.

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  • Got it. How about "Just because he is old, he isn't necessarily slow" then?
    – Bananach
    May 23, 2016 at 9:10
  • Yep that's fine. It's tricky because I think all variants of this are quite ungrammatical (ie informal), but the addition of a comma can help people parse an ungrammatical sentence. May 23, 2016 at 9:21
  • @Bananach that sentence could be interpreted as "the only reason he might not be slow is because he is old". It isn't really much better. Sep 15, 2021 at 17:52
  • Thinking about it more, the nicest way i can think to express this is "He's old, but that doesn't mean he's slow". Sep 16, 2021 at 9:29

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