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"Walter was always there if he needed the company, but he didn't insist on being Jack's company. The distinction mattered." This is the exact phrase but I don't get what is the difference here. If anyone could explain, please.

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    You are not sure of the difference between offering something and insisting on it? The key word is insist, not being. May 26, 2017 at 20:25
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    This is a very odd sentence; should that possibly be "insist on being in Jack's company"? May 26, 2017 at 20:51
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    I can see the difference between being "on hand" without "being with" someone. I stayed with my aged father for a few days but kept to myself within the same house 95% of the day. I was there, but I wouldn't say I was "keeping him company". I just wanted to make sure he was eating and go along with him in case he had the wild idea to go for a walk alone or something. Perhaps the phrase means something similar?
    – Tom22
    May 26, 2017 at 21:34
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    Who or what are you quoting? May 27, 2017 at 0:07
  • It's the difference between talking to someone, or spending time with them, and simply being in the same room or place as them. Sep 27, 2017 at 8:07

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"Walter was always there if he needed the company, but he didn't insist on being Jack's company. The distinction mattered."

This tells us the interest in having the other's company isn't perfectly balanced. If you use a word that has less of an idiom feeling, maybe it will be clearer to you: let's try companionship. Also, let's get rid of the pronouns, that make one have to work a little harder to follow the idea.

Walter was always there if Jack needed his companionship, but Walter didn't insist on being Jack's companionship. The distinction mattered.

If I didn't answer your question, please elaborate!

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