Linked Questions

13
votes
2answers
141k views

What does "but" mean in "Life is but a dream"? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: The construction of “Known but to God” What does "but" mean in this case and what other uses is this word used in the same context. I'm trying to explain what this ...
2
votes
1answer
715 views

Omitting "nothing" in "nothing but" [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: The construction of “Known but to God” Difference between “but” and “nothing but” Is it acceptable to omit the word nothing in the following sentence? Knowledge was ...
28
votes
12answers
17k views

Secular phrase for "Heaven only knows" or "God only knows"?

As the title states, I am seeking a secular phrase synonymous to "Heaven only knows" or "God only knows." Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.
65
votes
1answer
153k views

"All but" idiom has two meanings?

Here's two ways I've seen the "all, but" idiom used: "Close all tabs but this one" (Any modern application with a number of tabs might have this as an option.) It means "close all the tabs, but not ...
3
votes
1answer
38k views

"all but one refused to do" means everyone do it or only one did it? [duplicate]

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Difference between "but" and "nothing but"

Every now and then I stumble about a construction like this: It was but something.... and I understand it to be It was nothing but.... or It was only... depending on the context. I do ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Interpreting the meaning of 'but' as an implication for exclusion/inclusion

I often find it difficult to interpret the meaning of but in some of the sentences where it is used to imply exclusion/inclusion. For example: Drink everything you want but alcohol. Also, sometimes ...
1
vote
2answers
195 views

Trying to find a grammar rule that explains heavy use of ‘but’ instead of ‘that doesn’t’ in older English

I have seen quite a few sentences that look like this in 18th and 19th century literature: There was hardly a lawyer of repute but took up the question, and had an opinion as to Lizzie’s right to the ...
0
votes
2answers
223 views

How does the original meaning of "but" ("outside") relate to its current 2021 meanings?

How do the principal 2021 meanings of "but" relate, if any, to its original meaning of "outside"? E.g. how does "no more than; only" appertain to "outside"? ...
1
vote
1answer
68 views

Whom he saw but little hope of [duplicate]

"He forgot his enmity to Manfred, whom he saw but little hope of dispossessing by force; " I'm reading a novel called The castle of Otranto. And I'm confused the usage of 'but' in the sentence ...
0
votes
1answer
100 views

Isn't 'but' unnecessary here?

You have but to be attracted by anything, to fall in love with it, you become engrossed with it, and all else goes for nothing, and you won't even look at it. Doesn't this mean the same if the ...