I'll be dressed in but a minute.

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MrRise

Senior Member
Russian
Hello, I'd like to ask you... what is 'but' here for?

The sentence: I'll be dressed in but a minute.

It was said by a person #1 to a person #2, probably first one was bare, that's why he said this.

It would be clear if there were no "but", so.. it is to show something, but what?

Thanks in advance! :)
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It's in the WR Dictionary:


    adv.
    1. only; just: There is but one answer.
    So 'I'll be dressed in just a minute'."

    ' . . . in but a minute' sounds rather formal and old-fashioned.
     

    MrRise

    Senior Member
    Russian
    It's in the WR Dictionary:


    adv.
    1. only; just: There is but one answer.
    So 'I'll be dressed in just a minute'."

    ' . . . in but a minute' sounds rather formal and old-fashioned.
    Could you say if I tell someone, for example: One of my friends wants to buy a book. But his budget is not enough to buy two or more books, so I can say him: "You can buy but one book." Is it right? And you said it's formal and old-fashioned? :)
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I would avoid saying but one book. It's as heypresto describes it or dialect.

    Note also that You can only buy one book can mean that you are not allowed to buy more than one book.
     

    MrRise

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I would avoid saying but one book. It's as heypresto describes it or dialect.

    Note also that You can only buy one book can mean that you are not allowed to buy more than one book.
    To not be allowed because of not having enough money, that's what I meant. So.. we can use as formal and old-fashioned the conjunction 'but' only where it's linked to.. "I'll be back/dressed/there (but) in N minutes"?
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    There are two meanings of but:

    (1) It took but a moment to go outside and start the car. (here but = only)
    (2) I'll go home and get some money, but it will take me an hour. (here but is a conjunction, and there are several examples in the forum dictionary.)

    But can mean only in the phrases nothing but (He's nothing but trouble (meaning he's only/just/simply trouble) or I did nothing but stand there (meaning I only/just/simply stood there and did nothing else).

    I am puzzled when you say to your friend You're only allowed to buy one book if he only has enough money for one anyway. You can only/You're only able fits this context better.
     
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