Bit of a quibble on a discussion elsewhere.
I made the following statement:
They had absolutely no debt, except for their mortgage.
Someone (with whom I disagree vehemently) has accused this of being a self-contradicting statement.
I argue that the meaning is identical to:
Except for their mortgage, they had absolutely no debt.
Am I missing something, or am I right in thinking that the meaning of these two statements is exactly the same, and that the inclusion of except in an absolute statement does not render the statement self-contradictory but simply makes the single exception clear?