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Koh Elaine
Posted: Saturday, May 13, 2017 10:09:20 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/4/2012
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Occasionally I read sentences ending in 'all but', but can't make out the meaning of the phrase.

Could someone please explain its meaning and illustrate it with a couple of sentences?

Thanks.
NKM
Posted: Saturday, May 13, 2017 11:05:02 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/14/2015
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Location: Corinth, New York, United States
"All but" generally means something like "almost" or "almost completely".
- "We're all but out of bread" = "We're almost out of bread."

But we don't usually put it at the end of a sentence, and I wouldn't expect to hear it except as an afterthought: "or all but."
- "I'm ready to give up, or all but."

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, May 14, 2017 1:05:59 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 25,592
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Maybe it's dialect, but I know it used at the end.

It means the same - "almost" or "except a small amount".
There are several similar idioms - maybe you know one of them.
"more or less"
"pretty much"
"virtually"
"not quite"

That car's worn out, ready for the scrap-yard, all but.
The sugar is used, all but. We'll have to buy more.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Koh Elaine
Posted: Monday, May 15, 2017 12:00:14 PM
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Joined: 7/4/2012
Posts: 1,836
Neurons: 7,597
Thanks, NKM and DragOnspeaker.
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