I am reading some documentation and cannot fully understand the meaning of 'In anything but..'

In anything but the smallest applications it makes sense to organize the service definitions by moving them into one or more configuration files.

I have already read "However, this book is anything but" meaning, but it seems different to me. What do you think?

  • 1
    "In anything but" ==> "Except for"
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 22, 2015 at 23:13
  • @HotLicks, thank you. I understand now, have a good night Aug 22, 2015 at 23:24
  • I think this is an incorrect version of "In any but the smallest ..." meaning "In any except the smallest ..." I would prefer "Except for the smallest ... " though). "X is anything but Y" is an emphatic way to say "X is not similar to Y" which is meaningless in the OP's quote. collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/anything-but
    – alephzero
    Aug 23, 2015 at 0:50
  • @alephzero - It's not incorrect. Perfectly legitimate English.
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 23, 2015 at 0:53
  • @HotLicks Evidence? At the very least, "Anything" (singular) "but" does not agree with "applications" (plural) in the OP's sentence. "Any but" is not obviously either singular or plural.
    – alephzero
    Aug 23, 2015 at 0:57

1 Answer 1


In anything but the smallest applications it makes sense to organize

The word but can mean except or other than.



conjunction: but


used to indicate the impossibility of anything other than what is being stated. "one cannot but sympathize"

synonyms: (do) other than, otherwise than, except "one cannot but sympathize"

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=but+definition&ie=&oe= .


In anything other than the smallest applications it makes sense to organize

This means,

It makes sense to organize in all applications that are not very small.

  • Thanks also for your humble way of describing your answer even if it is very constructive Aug 22, 2015 at 23:37

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