The key word is But.

Hey everyone! I hope you are all well and healthy!

Today’s blog will be about the word But; which can be used many ways and with many inflections, it usually introduces negative connotations.

That is from a literate writer, yet not an English major, high school teacher or university prof. Heck, I’m not even a linguist, my linguine is not genuine! Damn, that pun did not make a bit of sense!

But, on with the blog…

Recently, I read, on Wikipedia, about Sveva Caetani, an artist who was forcibly confined to her home in Vernon, BC. This was during the 1960’s. I am not concerned about this person.

However, something twinged my advocacy bone, if there is such a thing.

While I was reading, I came upon this sentence: “She had one half-sibling by her father’s marriage, a brother, Onorato, 16th Duke of Sermoneta, but lived with disabilities.” This is a direct quote.

There is no hyperlink to Onorato, so there is no mention of what disabilities he had, or even if he lived long.

When you read that sentence, what first popped into your mind? You can send me an comment if you like!

To me, I saw the “but lived with disabilities” and felt disgusted. An image came to mind of being institutionalized, locked away, forgotten.

So? Maybe Onorato did have disabilities, he should be seen as a human first.

I think the sentence should read: “She had one … brother, Onorato, 16th Duke of Sermoneta, who lived with disabilities.”

Do you see the difference? By using who instead of but the quote now puts emphasis on Onorato, that he had disabilities.

Besides, we all know that “disabilities” can range from mild to severe, from stuttering to quadriplegic, and then there is intellectual disabilities, a whole bunch too.

Onorato had what disabilities, exactly? Wikipedia doesn’t say: I could not find a link to ‘Onorato, 16th Duke of Sermoneta disabilities.’ Even Onorato’s father, some guy named Leone Caetani’s wiki page and FindaGrave page do not say anything about a son named Oronato! However, I am not going to look any harder.

I think I made my point clear… but to really drive that nail home, I am going to provide some examples of how the But word can give negative connotation to sentences…

Here they are for your reading pleasure!

“Hi, I am Craig, but I am Deaf-Blind,” said Craig…

“Oh my God, I am so sorry!” said the woman in the elevator.

“This is Jane, she is 12, but she has severe disabilities,” said her mom.

“Jane is so brave!” said some person in the store who acts as if Jane is not even able to understand speech.

Mauree Turner was recently elected to the US House of Commons, but she is transgender. (For all my readers, this was my creative sentence, and by no means disrespectful. I wanted to demonstrate how the But confounds the sentence.)

Nyle DiMarco won the America’s Next Top Model in 2015, but he is Deaf.

The But in all the above comments are drawing attention away from the person to focus on the person’s attribute, like a Las Vegas style neon sign that says Transgender, Deaf, Deaf-Blind, et al!

Every but can, and should, be removed:

“I am Craig, I am Deaf-Blind”

“This is Jane, she just turned 12!”

Mauree Turner, US Representative to the House of Commons. (Not even need to say they are nonbinary)

Nyle DiMarco, Deaf, winner of the 2015 ANTM.

While today’s media is more respectful to how they portray people, sometimes you can still find things like this occurance of “…but lived with disabilities.” pops up. Everyone must be observant, respectful!

Here is the Wikipedia link for Sveva Caetani.

Thank you for reading!

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