When writing the 'nothing but' kind of sentence, which is the subject? Nothing or what follows the but?

An Example:

Nothing but blue berries grow in this village!


Nothing but blue berries grows in this village!

  • Nothing is the subject. – Hot Licks Mar 4 '17 at 18:25

My answer is that "nothing but NP" is the subject. Other answers seem to be concentrated on the question of whether the verb will have singular or plural concord, which is a different matter.

All the tests for subjecthood that occur to me are positive for "nothing but blueberries":

(1) can be in subject position in a passive: "Nothing but blueberries is/are consumed by the black bear." < "The black bear consumes nothing but blueberries."

(2) can be raised by subject-raising to object: "I believe that nothing but blueberries live here." > "I believe nothing but blueberries to live here."

(3) can be raised by subject-raising-to-subject: "It seems that nothing but blueberries lives here." > "Nothing but blueberries seem(s) to live here."

(4) can be affected by subject-verb-inversion: "Will nothing but blueberries satisfy you?"

Note interesting verb agreement in (3).

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