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Scientists did not find it problematic to explain the physical world with nonphysical phenomenon in seventeenth-century England. Though Bacon did.

A) No Change
B) England, but Bacon did.
C) England; Bacon did.
D) England like Bacon.

The correct answer is B, but I chose D. I thought a comma was necessary between two independent clauses and a coordinating conjunction. However, "Bacon did" isn't a complete thought.

Can someone please help me see what I'm missing?

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B is correct because "Bacon did" is a complete thought in this case where "did" refers back to the verb at the beginning. So what it really means when it says "but, Bacon did" is

Scientists did not find it problematic to explain the physical world with nonphysical phenomenon in seventeenth-century England, but Bacon found it problematic to explain the physical world with nonphysical phenomenon in seventeenth-century England.

D isn't correct because the syntax is wrong, so it would likely be parsed as

Scientists like Bacon did not find it problematic...

This also completely changes the meaning of the sentence.

  • I see how D changes the meaning of the sentence and is wrong. However, with regards to the conjunction, the second independent clause doesn't have to have all the elements of a sentence on its own? – user27343 Aug 21 '18 at 3:33
  • Structurally, OP's example is no different to, say, I don't smoke but my wife does. So far as I'm concerned it's entirely a stylistic choice whether to have any punctuation (comma, period,...) at all between the two clauses. But the more text there is in the first clause, the more justification there is for "stronger" clause-delineating orthography (which is why it's perfectly reasonable for me to use a period before the word but this sentence). So although choice D is obviously wrong, as explained above, the test question itself is sorely misguided and misleading. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Aug 23 '18 at 12:51

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