I found the sentence below in a book I'm reading:

I've all but given up dating because I'm so tired of the pain and humiliation.

What does I've all but mean in this context?

2 Answers 2


It means

I've almost but not quite given up dating ...

The All but part suggests the speaker has done everything.

But the expression is used when the speaker can't think of anything further to do, so it might not be literally everything.

  • Yes, "almost, but not quite" was exactly the alternative that sprang to my mind. Famous example: "Now the Jedi are all but extinct." :) Jul 18, 2011 at 8:28

The relevant part of the sentence is "I've all but given up X". The speaker is saying that he is extremely close to giving up dating because of the "pain and humiliation", but hasn't done so.

  • thanks for letting me knew to extract the relevant part of a sentence, I'll do it next time I post question
    – mko
    Jul 19, 2011 at 6:19

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