"all but" = all of; a mere"

Thu Mar 6 19:37:43 UTC 2008

        For more context, here's the full first paragraph of the review,
from http://www.amazon.com/review/product/0613279085?showViewpoints=1:

        "i first read this book in 10th great and i didn't get it. i
found a VHS movie and i saw it. i was impressed with the interpretation
from book to film. so, 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."

        I think the intended meaning clearly is that it took the
reviewer only three days to read this book.  Also, note that I cut and
pasted the text above, so all errors are original.

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
Of Mark Mandel
Sent: Thursday, March 06, 2008 1:04 PM
Subject: Re: "all but" = all of; a mere"

For me too. It looks to me as if arnold is assuming an ironic use, or
inferring it, possibly from the 'only' sense of "but" (with or without
negation). Arnold?

m a m

On Thu, Mar 6, 2008 at 12:32 PM, Dennis Preston <preston at msu.edu> wrote:
> Odd that arnold finds this reading of "all but there" days to suggest

> that it was less than expected. For me, the expectation is just the
> opposite; not only that it was three full days but that it should
> have taken less. What are we missing here?
>  dInIs

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