"all but" = all of; a mere"

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Thu Mar 6 00:28:58 UTC 2008

On Mar 5, 2008, at 11:59 AM, Jon Lighter wrote:

> Have seen this before in undergrad writing; don't know just when:
>  2006 Amazon.com Customer Review [http://www.amazon.com/review/product/0613279085?showViewpoints=1
> ]: At the age of 30(6 years ago) i bought a copy of the book AND the
> cliffs notes to help me through the difficult dialogue. i found this
> to be a page turner. it took me all but three days to red the book-
> even with its level diffculty.

"all but" seems entirely natural to me,  yes, "all of" is also possible.

tons and tons of (over 100k) google hits for {"took me all but"}.
admittedly, all from the web and none from news sources, so it looks
decidedly colloquial.

but surely not just inadvertent error.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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