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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Do you know use of "all but" construction?

    Example:
    1. Many flights are too expensive for all but rich people.
    2. I've all but finished the book.
    3. All but David is going to attend the party.

    I profusely confuse "all but" construction. Let me know how to decipher context from "all but" construction. I appreciate if you provide grammar link containing detailed discussion on this construction. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Offroad's Avatar
    Offroad is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Do you know use of "all but" construction?

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    Example:
    1. Many flights are too expensive for all but rich people.
    2. I've all but finished the book.
    3. All but David is going to attend the party.

    I profusely confuse "all but" construction. Let me know how to decipher context from "all but" construction. I appreciate if you provide grammar link containing detailed discussion on this construction. Thanks.
    In this particular case, 'but' means 'except'.

    He eats everything but hamburgers.
    Nobody but her would do a thing like that.
    She's not interested in anything but skiing
    She is but a child. ('buy' = 'only')

  3. #3
    maral55 is offline Member
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    Default Re: Do you know use of "all but" construction?

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    Example:
    1. Many flights are too expensive for all but rich people.
    2. I've all but finished the book.
    3. All but David is going to attend the party.

    I profusely confuse "all but" construction. Let me know how to decipher context from "all but" construction. I appreciate if you provide grammar link containing detailed discussion on this construction. Thanks.


    I have the same question.

  4. #4
    Daruma is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Do you know use of "all but" construction?

    http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/as...5-all-but.html

    all but
    1
    almost: The party was all but over when we arrived.
    It was all but impossible to read his writing.
    2 everything or everyone except sth/sb: All but one of the plates were damaged.

  5. #5
    Daruma is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Do you know use of "all but" construction?

    Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

    all but
    : very nearly : almost ▪ Without you the job would have been all but impossible. ▪ We had all but given up hope.

    all - Definition from Longman English Dictionary Online

    all but
    almost completely:
    - Britain's coal industry has all but disappeared.
    - His left arm was all but useless.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Do you know use of "all but" construction?

    1. Many flights are too expensive for all but rich people.
    3. All but David is going to attend the party.

    2. I've all but finished the book.

    Note how 'all but' precedes a noun in the first two sentences, and a verb/form of the verb in the last sentence.
    When 'all but' refers to a noun, it means 'all except'.
    When 'all but' precedes a verb, it means 'very nearly'.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Do you know use of "all but" construction?

    I want to thank everybody who have answered my question. I've gone through all posts above and applied David's rule in each sentence.

    @David: Special thanks for clarifying the exact usage limpidly.

    Here is what I have modified further. Let me know should you feel any modification.
    all but = "except" when followed by noun

    all but = "almost"/"very nearly" when followed by verb, preposition or adjective. Probably, all but "noun" are acceptable....

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