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Possible Duplicate:
“all but at most one” - What does it mean?

When a sentence has this phrase: "....which all but one refused to do."

Does it mean all refused to do and only one did it? Or does it mean everyone did it, except one didn't?

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marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt Apr 15 '12 at 13:38

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

This plainly isn't a duplicate: all but at least one is completely different from all but one, which may not be obvious to non-native speakers. There are, however, sufficient similar questions to make this one not worth re-opening. – TimLymington Apr 15 '12 at 14:11
@TimLymington: I'm not sure all but at least one really makes sense in any context. The duplicate is for all but at most one, and the answer there covers the meaning if "at most" had been omitted or otherwise failed to apply. – FumbleFingers Apr 15 '12 at 14:44
up vote 4 down vote accepted

It means that all refused to do and only one did it. Sometimes rearranging the structure helps to clarify: "all refused to do [it] but one."

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