There is no mother but loves her children.

There is scarcely a man but has a weak point.

I read these sentences, and I guess 'but' means 'who does not'.

Is it correct?

May I use 'but' as in the above sentences in formal writing?

  • The use of "but" in the sense of "who doesn't" seems unidiomatic. "Why don't you use "who doesn't" instead?
    – Khan
    Oct 25, 2015 at 5:11
  • What is the source of these quotations?
    – Jasper
    Oct 25, 2015 at 15:06

1 Answer 1


The usage of 'but' indicated in the question appears archaic and unusual. Therefore, such formulations might confuse a reader and get wrongly or poorly understood. They also might give an undesired impression of your writing style.

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