19.3. adversative conjunctions

The action / event in the subordinate clause really impeded the action / event described in the main clause from happening.

He has read the book, but was unable to unterstand it.

Adversative clauses shouldn't be confused with concessive clauses. In the case of a concessive clause, the action described in the subordinate clause could or could have been a hindrance for the action described in the main clause, but didn't actually prevented this event / action from happening.

He wanted to go on holidays, although he felt sick.

In this case there is a theoretical hindrance, but he wanted to perform the action described in the main clause anyway.

Sometimes the difference between a concessive clause and an adversative clause is not so evident, because any adversative clause can be converted into a concessive clause an viceversa in case that the action / event is negated.

1) He buys a car, but he has no driving licence.
2) Although he has no driving license, he buys a car.

In this case the difference between an adversative conjunction and a concessive conjunctions vanishes. In both cases he buys a car, although there is a hindrance. In other words, the classification doesn't make a lot of sense, but we don't care about classifications. Most grammar notions that steem from latin are actually incorrect. From practical point of view we have no problems. However sometimes we find several translations in dictionnaries and all of them are correct, but not in any context. Than it is useful to understand the differences.

contact privacy statement imprint