anything but vs everything but

Doggie doggie

Senior Member
chinese
I am confused about the difference between the two expression.

I will do everything but shopping
I will do anything but shopping

thanks in advance:)
 
  • Ahmad91

    Senior Member
    Arabic,English(US).
    I think when using "everything" you're implying to more than one action,when using "anything" you're implying to only one action.
     

    JoanTaber

    Senior Member
    English Northeast USA
    "Anything" is supposedly reserved for questions and negative statements. "Do you need anything?"

    However, if rules couldn't be broken, they would be called laws.

    "I'll do everything but shop" means I'm willing to do all the things you want me to do, but, I won't go shopping for you.

    "I'll do anything but shop" means I'm willing to do all sorts of work, even beyond what you want me to do, but there is no way I'll do that shopping."
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I am confused about the difference between the two expression.

    I will do everything but shopping
    I will do anything but shopping

    thanks in advance:)
    These sentences are generalisations, statements about ongoing preferences, which makes picking out the difference between them a little complicated.

    Let's change the sentence a tiny bit and add some context.
    This morning there is a long list of things to be done.
    One of the tasks is shopping.
    In the changed sentences I'll talk about "the shopping", meaning the specific shopping tasks that need to be done today.

    Bill: I will do everything but the shopping.
    Charlie: I will do anything but the shopping.

    Bill is offering to do all of the other tasks, but will not do the shopping.

    Charlie is being less generous. He is offering to do any of the other tasks, but will not do the shopping. I might ask Charlie if he would be prepared to do two, three, or more of the other tasks, but I don't know if he is offering to do more than one.


    Back to the original sentences.
    Because those are generalisations, there is not a specific list of other things to be done and I can't think of any significant difference between them.
     

    Strelitzian

    Senior Member
    English
    Personally I'd say "I'd do everything but...." if I had been given, for example, five tasks to do, which included shopping. I'd say "I'd do everything but the shopping" if I was willing to do the other things, but not the shopping.

    "I'll do anything but the shopping" is what you'd say if you really don't want to do the shopping. It doesn't necessarily imply that you'll do anything at all. It's just a statement you use to show that you really don't want to do something.
     
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