I can well understand "in spite of "and "because of "separately,but the combination really spins my head .Please help!Thanks a lot! Pattern likes "A not in spite of B,but because of B(or C)". enter image description here

  • If you understand them separately, what is it about the combination that confuses you? (And, just to be safe, can you explain what you think they mean separately?) – Hellion Apr 17 '17 at 16:00
  • "I love myself because of my imperfection ." means "I love myself for the reason my imperfection." "I love myself in spite of my imperfection."means "Although I am imperfection , I love myself ". But what is the exact meaning of "I love myself not in spite of, but because of my imperfection."or"I love myself not because of, but in spite of my imperfection."Maybe I am a Chinese,there's no equivalent expression , I have looked up for books, could – Maigebaoer Apr 17 '17 at 16:24
  • not find the similar ones. – Maigebaoer Apr 17 '17 at 16:26
  • 1
    What book is this from? – Xanne Apr 17 '17 at 20:11
  • Essays of Hertz C. K. Kê . Author's Chinese name is 葛传椝, a really famous Chinese professor in English usage. – Maigebaoer Apr 18 '17 at 4:39

The author is trying to draw attention to an intuitive paradox. Naively, one might assume that great writers would use proper English, and this would be one of the aspects of their writing that makes them great. But he asserts that it's actually the faults in their English that make them great writers (perhaps because they use techniques to overcome their language deficiencies that produce better finaly results). Because this seems to be an unlikely relationship, he uses in spite of to describe the relationship. And he prefaces it with not because of to make it clear that he's contrasting it with the expected relationship.

It could be rewritten in less flowery language as:

We would intuitively expect greater authors to be great because of their faultless use of English. But in fact they're great because of their faulty English, even though this seems unlikely.

  • Thanks.As you saying "paradox",I got it. But could you please explain deeplier about patterns between "A not because of,but in spite of B"and "A not in spite of,but because of B"?For examples,"Fascism Is Possible Not in Spite of Liberal Capitalism, but Because of It." and "Fascism is possible not because of liberal capitalism,but in spite of it."The difficulty for me is how to understand "not in spite of " – Maigebaoer Apr 19 '17 at 6:05
  • "A not in spite of B but because of B" means that A and B seem to be contradictory, but somehow B causes A. – Barmar Apr 19 '17 at 15:33

'Not in spite of but because of' (similar to what the book is starting to say at the bottom):

When a doctor loses a patient, he might say "He died in spite of our treatment, not because of it"

What this means is that some people might expect an invasive treatment to be the cause of a death (for example, chemotherapy causing immune system issues), but the doctor is saying that that wasn't the case.

'Not because of but in spite of':

This might be used to specifically highlight the fact that you're doing something "spitefully" (which means that you're doing it for revenge, or to make a point)

I washed the dishes not because my wife told me to wash them, but in spite of her telling me to.

More examples for clarity

"In spite of" means 'Event A happened, so we expected Event B not to happen. But Event B happened anyway.' For example:

In spite of my bad Spanish, I was still able to shop in Mexico.

"Because of" means 'Event A happened, which caused Event B to happen' For example:

Because of my bad Spanish, I couldn't tell my doctor what was wrong.

An example of using them together:

Because of my height, I couldn't reach the top shelf to get the box. In spite of this, I was still able to get it once my brother helped me.

  • I know what you mean. But how to understand the pattern like "A not in spite of B,but because of C(or B)"? – Maigebaoer Apr 17 '17 at 16:30
  • Oh, I understand now, I misread your title. I edited my answer. – etskinner Apr 17 '17 at 17:55

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