- The party was all but over when we arrived.
- All but one of the plates were damaged
|1.||All but one of the plates were damaged|
|2.||The party was all but over when we arrived.|
Except for or almost?
Exercise 1 - Decide which meaning all but has in these sentences:
|1.||He spent all but the last two years of his life in Manhattan.|
|2.||Nato all but rules out a no-fly zone over the war-torn country.|
|3.||The newspaper has imposed a ban on all but the most essential travel in order to reduce costs.|
|4.||The factories are all but gone but the noise remains.|
|5.||These and all but a handful of other American companies.|
|6.||The internet has all but destroyed the market for films and music.|
|7.||All but one of the writers he mentions is a woman.|
|8.||His name is all but synonymous with Wall Street.|
|9.||It was a term Hollywood all but invented for her.|
|10.||The mayor ordered all but emergency vehicles off the state's highways.|
|11.||Congress seems all but paralyzed when it comes to raising revenue.|
|12.||Hockey news - it's all but over for Smith.|
|13.||She is a feminist in all but name.|
|14.||Apple invitation all but confirms next week's iPhone 5 announcement.|
|15.||He is already running for President in all but name.|
A little bit of grammar
Exercise 2 - Look back at those newspaper examples and decide:
|1.||When all but is followed by a noun, pronoun or number, it means:|
|2.||When all but is followed by a verb, adjective or adverb, it means:|
The word - but = except (for)
Exercise 3 - Fill the gaps with words from the box.
|1.||She's so greedy. She's eaten but one of the biscuits.|
|2.||He does but play on his PlayStation all day.|
|3.||They live door but one to us. The Joneses live in between us.|
|4.||I looked for my keys but in the right place. My pocket!|
|5.||There's way out of the room but that door over there.|
|6.||Oh no! I would have preferred but him. He's so boring.|
|7.||It was really embarrassing, I came but two in the race.|
|8.||You can sit but here; that's where Aunt Jane's sitting.|
|9.||She's so naughty. She does but what she's told.|
|10.||That's so typical: but you would have thought of something like that.|
|11.||I was the only one there; one person turned up but me!|
|12.||The cinema was packed; row but one was completely full.|
|13.||I've spoken to but Peter. I'll tell him tomorrow.|
|14.||Have a chocolate, you like but the round ones; they're mine!|
|15.||' but the brave' was a 1965 war film starring Frank Sinatra.|
Some examples of but = except (for)
- Exeunt all but Brutus and Cassius - Julius Caesar, Act 3 Scene 1
- Those that are married already - all but one shall live - Hamlet, Act 3 Scene 1
- You are undone, Captain, all but your scarf - All's Well That Ends Well, Act 4 Scene 3
- That's not what I'm saying at all. Anything but. (= the complete opposite)
- They're married in everything but name.
- We've got nowhere to go but up / down.
- The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
- Everything but the kitchen sink - idiom
- Every Which Way But Loose - 1978 fiim with Clint Eastwood
- Anywhere but here - film with Susan Sarandon, Natalie Portman
- Anything but ordinary - song by Avril Lavigne
- Anything but Down - 1999 single by Sheryl Crow
Pronouns after but
- Nobody but him would say a thing like that. - normal
- Nobody but he would say a thing like that. - formal
Verbs after but
- She does nothing but sit around all day. (does ... sit)
- He doesn't like anything but playing on his computer. (like ... playing)
- I had no choice but to resign. (the choice ... to resign)
- Not a day goes by but I think of him. that I don't think of him
The expression but for
- We would never have managed but for your help.
= ... if it hadn't been for your help
- But for the weather, we would have arrived on time
= If it hadn't been for the weather, ...
The expression who should ... but
- I was at the football, and who should I see but my old class teacher, Mr Johnson.
- I was just on my way to work, when who should I bump into but Danny, you know, Danny Sharp.
The idiom there but for the grace of God (go I)
- He lost his job due to the crisis. There but for the grace of God ... .
- When she saw what had happened to him , she thought ti herself, 'There but for the grace go I'.
The idiom can't (help) but
- One cannot (help) but question his motives. (formal)
- You can't help but wonder what he's up to.
- I can't help wondering what he's up to.
The idiom - all but = almost
Exercise 4 - Complete the sentences with all but plus one of the words in the box
married · over · there · unknown
|1.||We'd lunch when there was a knock on the door.|
|2.||They've been living together for ages and are .|
|3.||Our troubles were and from that moment things started to improve.|
|4.||The end of her speech was out by the tumultuous applause.|
|5.||Such balmy temperatures in January are .|
|6.||Preparations for the ceremony are now .|
|7.||Over the weekend the snow .|
|8.||I've the report. I just have to dot the i's and cross the t's.|
|9.||Last week's tornado the town.|
|10.||We're . Just another mile or so.|
The prepositions - bar and barring = except (for)
Exercise 5 - Complete the gaps with words from the box.
|1.||There's nobody to beat him. He's the best football player in the world, bar .|
|2.||And he scores again! That makes it 4:0. It's surely all bar the shouting now.|
|3.||Every student passed the exam, bar who have to take it again later.|
|4.||All bar of the factories in this town have closed down. It's the only one left now.|
|5.||It's the result we've ever had, bar none.|
|6.||The house is as we bought it, bar a few changes here and there.|
|7.||Oxford city centre is closed to all , bar buses and taxis.|
|8.||bus will take you to the city centre, bar the 23.|
|9.||Barring any traffic we should get there in time for lunch.|
|10.||The new house should be ready next month, barring any last hitches.|
Bringing it all together
Exercise 6 - Read through the text then fill each gap with a suitable word.
When but = only
- In English, there are but two articles, "a" and "the" - A Short Introduction to Grammar - Robert Lowth 1762
- A simple sentence hath (= has) but one subject - English Grammar - Lindley Murray 1795
- When the [adjective] contains but one syllable, ... - A Grammar of the English language - William Cobbett 1820 (talking about comparison)
- I don't think we'll make it on time. Still, we can but try.
- Peter and Hannah are definitely coming, to name but two.
- He has but one claim to fame.
- The mouse that has but one hole is quickly taken. - idiom
- I Have But One Heart - song
I have But One Heart by Johnny Farrow and Marty Symes
- I have but one heart, this heart I bring you
- I have but one heart to share with you
- I have but one dream that I can cling to
- You are the one dream I pray comes true