do nothing but (to)

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ShirleyLing

Banned
chinese
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/02/n...e-strauss-kahn-legal-turn.html?pagewanted=all
“We believe we have done nothing but to support her,” Mr. Vance said.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/05/world/middleeast/05awarta.html
Here neighbors are also enemies, and the brutal killing of five members of the Fogel family in the settlement of Itamar three weeks ago has done nothing but harden that division.
It seems that in a "do/did/done nothing but (to)...." structure, "to" has some usual meaning noticeable only to native speakers. Am I wrong?
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    "To do nothing but harden that division" = "To do something that achieved nothing more than hardening that division". If you wanted a shorter variation, you could use "Do nothing other than harden that division" or "Do nothing except harden that division".
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    But note that he might have been thinking
    “We believe we have done everything to support her,” Mr. Vance said.
    In that case, the to is required.
    (See my signature :D)
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    So, "to" in "do/did/done nothing but (to)...." is mandatory?
    No, not at all.

    It has to be either:
    ... we have done nothing to support her...
    OR
    ... we have done nothing but support her...

    << Note that these have opposite meanings. >>

    The combination "... done nothing but to support her..." is wrong.
     
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