Usage of "nothing, but"


The following bothers me: "the radio played nothing, but static"


As I read that, the first part makes sense, then that comma introduces something which completely throws me out of phase. It should not be there, but I cannot quite state why; something about restrictive clauses should not be bound by commas? Or is this a type of usage that is acceptable in various parts of the English speaking world?

comma asked Jun 24 '13 at 22:46 SeaBiscuit New member

1 answer


I've never seen a comma used with this phrase. 'But' is a preposition here, not a conjunction, and means 'except'. Since the sentence doesn't make sense without it, it's a restrictive clause, and no comma is needed.

link comment answered Jun 24 '13 at 22:58 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow

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