There is a vocabulary exercise in accordance with Oxford English Shanghai Edition in Grade 7.

My good friend Ben is very poor and he never _____ money.
A.saves B.spends C.wastes D.costs

The answer is C. But I was wondering why the option A cannot be right. Because the word "and" has the meaning "You use and to link two statements when the second statement continues the point that has been made in the first statement. " My thought is the second statement has the similar meaning of the first. (Maybe the options A and C are both correct if we put this sentence into a certain context?)

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    Indeed, Ben could 'never save money' because he has to spend all his income on staying alive and can't spare any to save for the future. Commented Apr 14 at 14:31
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    Option A gives a fairly pointless statement. Obviously poor people aren't likely to save money because they don't have any/enough for that. But "poor" doesn't imply having no money, so it's perfectly natural to point out that at least some poor people (such as Ben, here) never waste what little money they spend. Of course, some people are poor precisely because they did waste their money. But that's psychology / sociology, not a matter of "learning English". Commented Apr 14 at 14:36
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    This is not about the word and. My good friend Ben is very poor. He never [verb: wastes] money. If you put in an and, it just links the two, it does not change the meaning at all.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 14 at 14:37
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    @Lambie: It is about and to the extent that and doesn't imply the kind of inevitability that OP seems to think applies here (which would be conveyed by so rather than and). Commented Apr 14 at 14:39
  • @FumbleFingers I don't see that the and is the deciding factor on a choice of verb. My friend is very rich. She spends too much money.=My friend is very rich and she spends too much money. Same idea. The and makes no difference at all.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 14 at 14:41

3 Answers 3

  1. (a) My good friend Ben is very poor because he never saves money.
    This is an acceptable sentence. The two independent clauses are joined with because, it explains why Ben is poor; he cannot save money because he spends it all, which means he has no money to spare.

  2. (b) My good friend Ben is very poor but/and he never spends (any) money.
    Even poor people have to spend money on groceries and pay bills etc. This is why spends is an inappropriate answer.

  3. (c) My good friend Ben is very poor, so he never wastes money.
    As a result of being very poor, Ben cannot afford to waste (i.e. spend foolishly) money on trivial things.

The verb (d) costs does not fit and would not make sense. Only the two independent clauses in no. 3 could also be joined with and:

  1. Ben is poor and [for this reason] he never wastes money.

Option (c) is the better answer in this instance.

  • Agreed that the option that generates the richest meaning is the best choice. The argument but other choices are good, too pales beside your point of the better answer. A must for the student to respect. Commented Apr 14 at 19:08

I think this is a poor question, because all 4 choices are at least plausible.

"My good friend Ben is very poor and he never saves money."

If the speaker is discussing which of his friends save money and which don't, this would be an entirely plausible sentence. Like, "Al doesn't save money because he is wasteful and irresponsible. Carla is very frugal and is very good about saving money. Ben is very poor and he never saves money." Etc.

"spends" Well of course if he is any money at all he presumably spends some of it somewhere along the line. But you might say he "never spends money" as a poetic exaggeration, meaning that he rarely spends money or he never spends money unnecessarily. This is a fairly unlikely thing to say but plausible.

"wastes" Sure, this makes sense. Some poor people waste what little they have, so the statement is not obvious or redundant. Some people are poor BECAUSE they waste money.

"costs" Unlikely but possible in the right context. Like, "Wow, Al always costs me money. He's poor and so he's always borrowing from me. Ben is poor but he doesn't cost me anything." "costs" would also be unlikely if you didn't say who he imposes costs on, like "costs me money" or "costs his parents money".

So I could see if they said D is incorrect. A and C are both completely plausible, and B is unlikely but reasonably possible.

Yes, "and" is generally used when the second thought logically follows from the first, or goes along with the first. That would make "costs" unlikely, but doesn't really subtract from any of the other three.


The answer is C. But I was wondering why the option A cannot be right.

To directly address your question, there is no reason why the answer couldn't be A (Save), B (Spends), or C (Wastes). All three of those options make perfect sense.

The general idea of "and" is that you are connecting two ideas in a sentence. USUALLY the ideas are related, but they don't have to be. Just be aware that unrelated ideas connected by "and" will be confusing.

"I am tall and the sky is blue." is a perfectly acceptable sentence even if the ideas are unrelated. Confusing, because the ideas are unrelated, but understandable.

In the example you posted, the first half describes a quality of Ben, and options A, B, and C also describe a quality of your friend Ben. All of these sentences make sense.

My good friend Ben is very poor and he never saves money.
My good friend Ben is very poor and he never wastes money.
My good friend Ben is very poor and he never spends money.

D doesn't make sense as an answer because "cost" doesn't make sense as a quality/trait of Ben.

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