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  1. Nightmare85's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • German
      • Home Country:
      • Germany
      • Current Location:
      • Germany

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 1,333
    #1

    but, but not

    Hello,
    But is also used instead of except.
    Everything but love.
    Everything except love.

    (I have everything, but I don't have love.)

    Now my question:
    Do I need a not in this sentence?
    When I was in your room, I saw everything but your wallet.
    When I was in your room, I saw everything but not your wallet.

    Cheers!

  2. kfredson's Avatar

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 700
    #2

    Re: but, but not

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    Hello,
    But is also used instead of except.
    Everything but love.
    Everything except love.

    (I have everything, but I don't have love.)

    Now my question:
    Do I need a not in this sentence?
    When I was in your room, I saw everything but your wallet.
    When I was in your room, I saw everything but not your wallet.

    Cheers!
    These are great sentences! "Everything but..." has taken on a particular nuance, almost like an idiom.
    For instance, you might say, "She threw everything at me but the kitchen sink." Here you are emphasizing the way she was acting, not the particular items thrown.
    If you were to write, "She threw everything at me but not the kitchen sink," you would be making a straightforward statement about the items being thrown. It would no longer be an expression that is making a point.

    Now, in your example first "wallet" example, we would assume that you are emphasizing the thoroughness of your search. Or you might be emphasizing the fact that your wallet wasn't there to see. I'm not sure.
    In your second example, however, you are making a straightforward statement that you were looking for something but didn't come across the wallet.

    Can you see the difference? It is somewhat subtle. I'm sure that others can explain this better.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
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      • UK
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      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,884
    #3

    Re: but, but not

    I saw everything but your wallet. - This could also be used to emphasise how much stuff there is in the room- a real mess, with everything but what the person was looking for.

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