Here is what I cut from a news about bread in Ireland:

In Ireland, some of the main foods people eat are not taxed. The foods which aren’t taxed are the staple foods that people need. There are many foods which aren’t taxed but some of the foods include bread, milk, cheese and meat.

My question is why use 'but' in the last sentence? The information following 'but' doesn't seem to contrast with the clause before it. I'm confused.

Edited: Here is the source if you are interested: https://learnwithnews.com/2020/10/07/subway-sandwich-bread-is-not-bread-level-2/

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    The sentence as a whole is not very well written: it looks like it might have been translated from another language, or adapted for children. Where did you see it? It's always a good idea to provide the source when you quote text here, because it helps us to identify the style and to research the wider context.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Nov 1, 2021 at 8:56
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    More alarmingly, the author doesn’t know the difference between ‘that’ and ‘which’. “The foods that aren’t taxed are the staple foods” would tell us that the staple foods aren’t taxed, but “the foods which aren’t taxed…” refers to ‘the foods’ and tells us that these foods are not taxed. ‘The foods’ could refer to all foods or to ‘the main foods people eat’, however ‘the staple foods’ is telling us about these foods rather than telling us which foods are being discussed.
    – Frog
    Commented Nov 1, 2021 at 10:00
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    I found it here learnwithnews.com/2020/10/07/… - it's not an original news story. Commented Nov 1, 2021 at 10:31
  • @Frog I wouldn't agree with what you say. The relative clause is an integrated (defining) one so "that" and "which" are both possible. The clause defines which foods are the staple ones in terms of taxation. "That" and "which" both have "foods" as antecedent.
    – BillJ
    Commented Nov 2, 2021 at 8:32

1 Answer 1


The use of but is unconventional, as we normally use but to link a contrasting element. It is possible that the writer was trying to create this kind of meaning:

There are [too] many foods [to mention] which aren’t taxed but [here are] some of them: milk, cheese and meat.

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