The interjection of an affirmation followed by a conjunction can have multiple, unexpected meanings. Perhaps it is to provide a sharp contrast to a statement previously held and left unchallenged; or to “add” to a declaration thought to be somewhat inadequate and needing an appendage for completion otherwise incomplete or left with a void that could be misconstrued unless filled. Alternatives to a statement left dangling without a competitive counter-concept presumably remains unfulfilled, and like the proverbial dangling participle, is a misfit in danger of wreaking havoc by choices not fully vetted.
Does it necessarily provoke a challenge or a counter-thought to the original declaration, or may it merely be a helpful appendage that is misstated, as in, “Yes, and…”? To say, “Yes, but there are other ways of doing it as well, and let me list them: A, B and C,” is thought to be a somewhat negative way of stating the additional amendments, reflecting upon the deficiency of the original statement; whereas, to “join in” by stating, “Yes, and there are other ways of doing it as well, such as X, Y and Z” is generally considered the more “polite” manner of interjection in this modern age of “not offending” and “being positive”, thereby injecting without implied criticism.
It is, in the end, the manner of speaking as opposed to the content of the issue, like the distinction between form and substance.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the ability and capacity of the Federal or Postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s official position description, the thought that language may play a significant role in the effective preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application should never be underestimated.
Can the subtlety of language have an influence upon the persuasive force of legal and factual argumentation? Can a simple conjunction in grammatical formulation – the choice between “but” or “and” – make a difference?
Grammar is a peculiar animal; once thought to be the necessary engine behind the proper usage of language, now it is considered a mere nuisance, and the consequences of such abandonment have been disastrous for modernity.
Perhaps it should not be unduly emphasized, and maybe the option between “and” and “but”, or “but” but “and” should only be given a passing glance; but tone, content and context of language must always be considered in effectively formulating one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, and it is always a good idea to evaluate all perspectives of linguistic applicability when preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire