2

I never wanted anything except to be a successful person.

I never wanted to do anything except be a successful person.

Which form of the verb is possible after except: [ do - to do - doing ] ? And when each one is used?

2

The complement of except is not licensed by the preposition itself, but by an element in the matrix clause.

Consider this -

I only wanted to be a successful person.

"Want" licenses an infinitival clause and therefore your sentence will take a full infinitive.

I never wanted anything except to be a successful person.

For more information, see The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, Page 642.

0

All three are possible

I never wanted anything except be a successful person.
I never wanted anything except to be a successful person.
I never wanted anything except being a successful person.

They all mean the same, it's only stylistically different.

1
  • Thank you. Did you notice the two sentences are structurally different?
    – Rose
    Feb 1 '17 at 5:25

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