Stop at nothing/ spare no effort

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Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
She told him (her father) about Prudence. He didn't comment. She told him about Tony Rocco. She told him the police thought she'd arranged for Jimmy's death and that her father-in-law would stop at nothing to get Nathan.
Source: Alone, Lisa Gardner
Background: Her father gave her shelter after a series of tragedies. She told him how her father in law was making her life miserable in order for her to hand over custody of her son.

Can I use "would spare no effort to get" in place of "would stop at nothing to get"? Does "spare no effort" have a slight positive connotation that would be out of place in this context? Thanks
  • Waylink

    Senior Member
    English (British)
    "would spare no effort to get" would mean that the person would try very hard to get... without implying any wrongdoing.

    e.g. The police promised to spare no effort in their attempts to find the missing child.

    "would stop at nothing to get" would suggest to me (in the context you gave) that wrongdoing could be involved.

    "The gang leader said he would stop at nothing to get revenge on his rivals, and if that means bodies in the river, so be it."
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