gr_cl (gr_cl) wrote in linguaphiles,
gr_cl
gr_cl
linguaphiles

Next but one

Do you ever use the phrase "next but one"?

For example, in the alphabet, B is "next" after A, but C is "next but one" after A.

I grew up in England but now live in the USA.  I had one of those moments today when I said "next but one" and got empty stares and laughs from my colleagues.  It still happens to me, even after living here for 13 years!

I would be interested to see whether any Americans know this phrase, and to what extent it's known by Brits and other English-speakers.  A Google Books search found some apparently American usages, but they seem quite old.

UPDATE:  If you don't know/understand "next but one', would you understand <a href="http://www.amazon.com/All-Laws-but-One-Liberties/dp/0679767320">All the Laws But One</a> to mean "all the laws, except for one"?  That was a famous quotation from Abraham Lincoln.
Tags: american english, phrases
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