Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceQuotations · 1 month ago

What does “but what” mean?

I believe this phrase was popular throughout the turn of the century? I’ve seen it often in books/novels from the late 19th century and early 20th century. I’m not exactly sure what it means. Examples: “She won’t believe but what I did it on purpose”. “I don’t know but what somebody will do something”. “I don’t know but what that’s a fine looking steak”.

2 Answers

  • 6 days ago

    You're right; the expression is no longer used.  It means "anything other/else than."

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  • Probably a way of speaking back then. Easily misunderstood as a grammar mistake today

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