1

Waiting for a deal

Trump says that won’t happen. Tariffs, in his strategy, are a way of gaining leverage in negotiations meant to cement trade deals more favorable to the United States. Trump has said he wants a lower U.S. trade deficit with China, and better opportunities for American firms operating in China. Once there’s a deal with China, he’ll rescind the tariffs.

Except no deal is falling into place, creating what increasingly looks like an open-ended trade war destabilizing to both sides. Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economic adviser, said on Sept. 17, “we are ready to negotiate and talk with China any time that they are ready for serious and substantive negotiations.” Chinese officials say basically the same thing. Yet talks have obviously gotten nowhere, and there’s no sign of a breakthrough any time soon.

The sentence in bold is ungrammatical to me.

  1. the usage of 'Except' is confusing. It should be the sense of 'besides' in my opinion.

  2. the main verb should seem to be 'destabilize', but it turns out to be 'destabilizing'. How should we parse the sentence?

Any thought?

The full source.

  • "Except" here indicates a negation of the previous sentence(s). You need to add the previous topic to your quoted text. "Except that no deal..." would be the formal wording. – user3169 Sep 18 '18 at 4:12
  • @user3169 just added. – dan Sep 18 '18 at 4:40
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+50

the usage of 'Except' is confusing. It should be the sense of 'besides' in my opinion.

Except can be used as a conjunction and this is OK.

X, except Y--where X and Y are clauses--is a mechanism that can be used to essentially say "X should be happening, however in reality Y is happening."

Besides isn't quite the same - another word that would work is however.

Except no deal is falling into place, creating what increasingly looks like an open-ended trade war destabilizing to both sides.

The "main verb" here is is - part of is falling, which itself is part of the idiom is falling into place.*

The entire phrase "creating what increasingly looks like an open-ended trade war destabilizing to both sides" is a participial phrase - it's modifying that main verb.

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  • But in this case, the sentence only has one clause(no deal is falling into place,). if except is used as a conjunction, we should see two clauses in the sentence. – dan Sep 21 '18 at 13:41
  • 1
    It's possible for a conjunction to link to an earlier sentence. – LawrenceC Sep 21 '18 at 14:25
  • So, we can just replace 'except' with 'however' in this context, right? – dan Sep 21 '18 at 14:42
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Your sense of the placement of the word is correct

Except

is used as a conjunction.

The reason for except is because the previous sentence suggests how things will progress, except they are not progressing.

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  • But that sentence doesn't have a main clause. Conjunctions usually connect two clauses, but here I don't see the second clause. – dan Sep 18 '18 at 10:07

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