except to say vs say vs saying

Discussion in 'English Only' started by youngbuts, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. youngbuts Senior Member

    korean
    Hello, everyone!

    Which among the following sentences is natural and right?

    1.He wouldn't talk about work, except to say that he was busy.
    2.He wouldn't talk about work, except say that he was busy.
    3.He wouldn't talk about work, except saying that he was busy.

    Although I'm not sure, considering what I have heard of what native speakers usually say, for me #3 is the least likely to be possible. But, #1 and #2 have the same weight for me. Which is right?

    Many thanks in advance!
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012
  2. Beryl from Northallerton Moderator

    British English
    Only (1) is familiar to me: 'He wouldn't talk about work, except to say that he was busy.'
     
  3. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    Yes, for me too. 3 doesn't sound quite right, but I can believe it being said. 2, I would say, is wrong.
     
  4. youngbuts Senior Member

    korean
    Thank you very much^^
     
  5. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    I agree with answers #2 and #3. If you really want to use the present participle, you might write: He wouldn't talk about work, except for saying that he was busy.
     
  6. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    #1 is fine, #3 needs "for" (as Keith says), and #2 is incorrect.
     
  7. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    Parla, when I said "answers #2 and #3" I meant the answers in posts 2 and 3 above. So we agree.
     
  8. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    Oh. My misreading.:eek: Yes, we agree.:)
     
  9. youngbuts Senior Member

    korean
    Thank all of you for your kind guidances.

    While I was studying your threads, suddenly I got a silly question.

    He wouldn't talk about work, except to say that he was busy.
    He wouldn't talk about work, except for saying that he was busy.

    Do these two sentence have a different connotation? Is it possible one of the two more implies he wanted to say at least the fact he was busy?
     
  10. Beryl from Northallerton Moderator

    British English
    With the context as it stands, I don't think that we can make any distinctions between the two regarding his desire to talk.
    As an added bonus, I have heard people say 'except for to say', eg. 'He wouldn't talk about work, except for to say that he was busy.' (I'd only say that for 'funsies' ;)).
     
  11. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Of the three original sentences, only 1 makes sense to me as written.

    Sentence 3 would work with an added preposition: He wouldn't talk about work, except for/in/by saying that he was busy.

    Something like sentence 2 can work if you use the special verb do: He wouldn't do anything all day at work, except say that he was busy.
     

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