1

According to the rule, the infinitive is used without the particle TO in conjunction with the following expressions: rather/sooner than; do + anything/nothing/everything but.

He'd sooner kill his wife than forgive her.

This device can do everything but talk.

My parents do nothing but quarrel.

The question is: Does the above rule also restrict the use of particle TO in the verbal compliment even if the main clause is "There was nothing to do"? Are the following sentences both correct? If the answer is "yes", which is the preferable usage?

There was nothing else to do but wait and see.

There was nothing else to do but to wait and see.

2

I prefer watch instead of see in both sentences.


1. There is nothing else to do but wait and see.

2. There is nothing else to do but to wait and see.

Both are perfectly valid and grammatically correct sentence. Both of them mean the same thing - the only thing to do is (to) wait and see.

The preposition but here license Matrix-licensed Complement. And so what will follow will completely depend on the Matrix Clause.

  • There is nothing else to do but to wait and see.

Here the Matrix clause is The only thing to do is [to wait and see].

  • There is nothing else to do but wait and see.

Here the Matrix Clause is The only thing to do is [wait and see].

The version without to is slightly preferred, especially in BrE.

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