for aught i know

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vanveen

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hello,
could someone please give me a context in which you can use the phrase "for aught i know"? i know what it means i just cant figure out how exacty its used
thank you
 

vanveen

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ok im sorry i probably didnt understand it quite correctly does it mean "I dont know"? If yes, what purpose does it serve in the following phrase for instance:
The last man, whoever he is--and he may be a cobbler or some low vulgar dog for aught we know--will have a longer pedigree than the greatest nobleman now alive; and I contend that this is not fair.
 

birdeen's call

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ok im sorry i probably didnt understand it quite correctly does it mean "I dont know"? If yes, what purpose does it serve in the following phrase for instance:
The last man, whoever he is--and he may be a cobbler or some low vulgar dog for aught we know--will have a longer pedigree than the greatest nobleman now alive; and I contend that this is not fair.
Please remember to use correct capitalization and punctuation. It's a language forum and we're supposed to do our best to use correct English.

Back to your question, no, "for aught I know" doesn't mean the same as "I don't know". I'd say it's an archaic version of "for all I know". I'm not sure if I'm not missing some nuance though.
 

BobK

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:up: The word 'aught' meant 'anything'*. ;-) I imagine - though I haven't researched the words - as 'aught' fell out of use in other contexts - 'for aught I know' was left as a fossil. Then people replaced the archaic word with 'all' (in some users it hasn't replaced it at all). When people - who would normally say 'for all I know' - want to sound posh (say, when writing a letter of complaint) they replace the 'all' with 'aught'!

b

PS* This is still visible in the Northern English 'owt' - especially in the proverb 'You never [probably something like 'tha nivver'] got owt for nowt'.
 
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