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I'm quite puzzled by "all he likes" in the following sentences. What does it mean ?

But were the protests to start to spread from the far east, Mr Putin would face a similar calculus. He can arrest and intimidate the elites all he likes. source

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In this context, "All he likes" is synonymous to "to his heart's content". In other words, Putin is doing whatever he wants.

The phrase can also be used to express that a person's actions are futile, such as "Complain all you like, but the answer is no."

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  • thanks. my another question is what role is "all you like "playing in the sentence"complain all you like". Is it a attributive clause? Nov 24, 2020 at 8:18
  • I'm 95% sure it isn't. Attributive clauses are also known as relative clauses. Relative clauses always start with relative pronouns like "who". If anything, "all you like" is an adverb clause.
    – Joshua
    Nov 24, 2020 at 19:58
  • Yes, and the idiomatic usage is this: to [action verb] all [pronoun] like or likes. She can sing all she likes. They can cheat all they like. We can play tennis all we like.
    – Lambie
    Jul 7, 2022 at 15:25

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