Death is but the next great adventure.

GrimReaper

New Member
French
Hi guys!
I was thinking about this amazing quote from Dumbledore in Harry Potter: "After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure." and I wondered... How come we can say "is but" and not "is nothing but"? Is it correct then, to say "I am but nice" or something like that?
That sounds kinda weird to me, it really feels like there's a missing word... Can someone give me an explanation for that quirky grammar rule? (If there is one)

Thanks!
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I agree with boozer, GrimReaper.

    In literary language, I could say "he is but a child" (for example) to mean "he is no more than a child".

    However literary I was trying to be, I don't think that I could say "he is but nice" - in other words, I don't think I could use this meaning of "but" with an adjective.
     

    Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin 國語
    I don't think I could use this meaning of "but" with an adjective.

    There is room in the world for the wealthy and great,
    For princes to reign in magnificent state;
    For the courtier to bend, for the noble to sue,
    If the hearts of all these are but honest and true.:D

    Is it correct then, to say "I am but nice"?
    It is grammatically correct but not necessarily pragmatically acceptable (i.e., difficult for people to make sense of it).

    How come we can say "is but" and not "is nothing but"?
    Rainer Maria Rilke: "Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure."
    She said, "I've been nothing but nice to you."
     
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