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Do I use "what" or "that" when I use the construction "not..but"?

  1. Tell him not all that you know but only that he is eager to hear.
  2. Tell him not all what you know but only what he is eager to hear.

Or maybe after "not" I should use "that" and after "but" I should use "what"?

  1. Tell him not all that you know but only what he is eager to hear.

Please advise.

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  • These are grammatical but moribund forms. You'd get along fine a couple of centuries ago.
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 21:11

1 Answer 1

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You're very close with your third sentence. "Tell him not all ..." is confusing. Instead just use "don't".

Don't tell him all (that) you know, but only what he wants to hear.

The first two sentences are not idiomatic.

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  • It's less idiomatic, but you could also replace "what" with "that which".
    – ScottM
    Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 19:21
  • @ScottM good suggestion, although I think "that which" is perfectly idiomatic.
    – Andrew
    Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 20:22
  • 1
    That which you just said seems a bit of an exaggeration.
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 21:13

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