I don't understand that "Everyone, but everyone, will be there." sentence.

The Dictionary defines the meaning of But is FOR EMPHASIS Of above sentence.

But I haven't understood how do I read that sentence to what meaning.

I wanna understand easily so that you would make the sentence easy one.

Please help me.

  • 1
    This is easier to understand if you think of the phrase as arising through three different stages. Firstly, with "no-one": "no-one but the Queen was going to be there", meaning "no-one except the Queen was going to be there", i.e. "the Queen was the only person who was going to be there". Then "no-one, but no-one, was going to be there", meaning "no-one at all was going to be there": no-one appears in the Queen's part of the sentence. Subsequently and finally, the word "but" gets interpreted as an intensifier, so it becomes acceptable to say "everyone, but everyone, …". Oct 14, 2016 at 18:36

2 Answers 2


A paraphrase of the sentence is

Everyone, and I mean everyone, will be there.

As the Oxford dictionary (definition 1.1) says:

Used with repetition of certain words to give emphasis.
‘nobody, but nobody, was going to stop her’

This can also be paraphrased as

Nobody, and I mean nobody, was going to stop her.

  • Absolutely right in terms of what this usage means, but I can't help feeling learners would benefit from a bit more explanation of why. My first stab at that is to say there's an implied "contrast" between what the audience might have thought the speaker meant by "everyone" (the vast majority, but feasibly not every single individual), and what he really means (literally, everyone). Oct 14, 2016 at 16:19
  • Apropos which I think that of the results from this Google Books search, The chief nodded to William, indicating that he, but he alone, could stay within the hall. is a closely-related and fully acceptable usage, whereas Communist elements under Aidit have become stronger and stronger in his country and he but he alone can crush D.N. seems at least slightly "off" to me. Oct 14, 2016 at 16:24
  • Sorry - I'll try to remember your handle and not rattle your cage again. But a little politeness wouldn't go amiss in future. Oct 14, 2016 at 16:31

Emphasis like this does not change the meaning of a sentence, but it tends to exclude loose interpretations.

For example, you might say “Everyone will be there” if 99 out of 100 people will be there, because it is “close enough” to everyone. On the other hand, by emphasising everyone in “Everyone, but everyone, will be there”, you are pointing towards a strict, literal usage of everyone: definitely 100 out of 100 people will be there.

  • So your answer meaning is "Everyone will be there" is part of 100, but Everyone is remainder meaning.
    – GKK
    Oct 14, 2016 at 15:48
  • therefore if I plus two sentence, “Everyone, but everyone, will be there.” = Everyone must be there. right?
    – GKK
    Oct 14, 2016 at 15:49
  • @SIS: «"Everyone will be there" is part of 100» not necessarily. Sometimes people will use it literally, sometimes they will use it to mean “almost everyone”. If someone emphasises everyone, they are much more likely using the literal sense. Does this clarify your doubt? Oct 14, 2016 at 15:57
  • 1
    yes, I've got it.
    – GKK
    Oct 14, 2016 at 16:03
  • In this sort of construction, a rough paraphrase would be "and even people you would not expect to be there were there." Everyone, but everyone was at the movie star's wedding, including the Dalai Lama, President Obama, Jane Goodall, Vladimir Putin, Mick Jagger, the Sultan of Brunei, and the Pope. Oct 14, 2016 at 17:49

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