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  1. #1
    Mehrgan's Avatar
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    Question "...no other choice but tightening/tighten my belt."?

    Hi there,

    What is the right for of verbs after "but" in such examples?

    'I could do nothing but wait/waiting.'
    'There was no other choice but tighten/tightening my belt.'

    Does the form varies according to the formality of the text?

    Many thanks.

  2. #2
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: "...no other choice but tightening/tighten my belt."?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mehrgan View Post
    Hi there,

    What is the right for of verbs after "but" in such examples?

    'I could do nothing but wait/waiting.'
    'There was no other choice but tighten/tightening my belt.'

    Does the form varies according to the formality of the text?

    Many thanks.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    (1) According to Professor George O. Curme in his great

    two-volume A Grammar of the English Language, your

    sentence is an example of ellipsis.

    (a) He gives these examples:

    (i) She does nothing but [that she does] laugh.

    (ii) I'll do anything to show my gratitude but (or except)

    [that I do] marry your daughter.

    (2) So I guess the full sentence of your first elliptical

    sentence is something like:

    I could do nothing but that I could wait.

    (3) Regarding your second example, I have less confidence

    in guessing. Maybe (a big "maybe"), it is SOMETHING like:

    There was no other choice but that I did tighten my belt.

  3. #3
    Mehrgan's Avatar
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    Question Re: "...no other choice but tightening/tighten my belt."?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    (1) According to Professor George O. Curme in his great

    two-volume A Grammar of the English Language, your

    sentence is an example of ellipsis.

    (a) He gives these examples:

    (i) She does nothing but [that she does] laugh.

    (ii) I'll do anything to show my gratitude but (or except)

    [that I do] marry your daughter.

    (2) So I guess the full sentence of your first elliptical

    sentence is something like:

    I could do nothing but that I could wait.

    (3) Regarding your second example, I have less confidence

    in guessing. Maybe (a big "maybe"), it is SOMETHING like:

    There was no other choice but that I did tighten my belt.

    Many thanks to you dear. So, is that right to say "I had no choice but wait.", or even "waiting" would be acceptable?

  4. #4
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: "...no other choice but tightening/tighten my belt."?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mehrgan View Post
    Many thanks to you dear. So, is that right to say "I had no choice but wait.", or even "waiting" would be acceptable?
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    (1) Professor Curme says that "She does nothing but laugh" is an

    ellipsis of "She does nothing but [that she does] laugh." He says that

    you need the infinitive (without "to"). Obviously, you could not say:

    She does nothing but that she does laughing. Thus, I think (THINK!!!)

    that in such constructions, you may NOT use the -ing form.


    (2) Regarding "I had no choice but wait," I offer the professor's

    example:

    I have no choice but [the choice] to accept the fact.

    I think that native speakers would NOT accept an -ing word here.

  5. #5
    Mehrgan's Avatar
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    Question Re: "...no other choice but tightening/tighten my belt."?

    Thanks a lot. I hope this is not boring to you! As my last question, would "I had no choice but wait." totally sound strange to you as a native speaker? Many thanks in advance.

  6. #6
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: "...no other choice but tightening/tighten my belt."?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mehrgan View Post
    Thanks a lot. I hope this is not boring to you! As my last question, would "I had no choice but wait." totally sound strange to you as a native speaker? Many thanks in advance.
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    (1) Discussing English usage is never boring!!! It is exhilarating!!

    (2) What a coincidence! I was thinking the same thing about the "to."

    (3) "I had no choice but to wait" is, of course, "perfect."

    But I suspect that deleting the "to" (especially in fast

    conversation) would not be a horrible "crime":

    Tom: Why did you wait for three hours?

    Martha: Because I had no choice but wait.

    (3) I am eager to see what other native speakers say.

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