La Liseuse
"Fill the gap" - opinions from native English speakers, please.

Two apologies, to start off with:

Yes, sorry, I know this isn't really a Discussion. But threads here last longer than in the Answers section, and I'd appreciate as many opinions as possible from several different time zones of the English-speaking world. Posts on the Answers pages tend to sink into oblivion before the next time zone has woken up!

And sorry, I know this is a fairly dull question, but here goes.

Which of the following words could you fill the gap with? A, B, C, only two of them, or all three?

The weather was so bad that we had no choice ........ to turn round and head home again.

A    but

B    except

C    than

Thanks in advance for your help.  :)



Mar 6, 2017 9:29 PM
Comments · 29

Thank you Verna, Seth, Neil, Spangola, Bill, Zoe and Bramwell for your contriibutions.  Special thanks also to Dan for going the extra mile with thorough research and examples, and to Richard who kindly supplied some more arithmetic practice to tax my poor numerically-challenged brain!

Most of you confirmed my assumption that have no choice than is odd or 'not quite right'. Strangely, it's listed in Dictionary.com (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/than, example 4), even though all other grammar sites say it's not acceptable without 'other'. There were also lots of examples with 'than' from African news sites, for some reason.

Funny old language, isn't it? When even a bunch of language-aware native speakers aren't too sure whether something is right, wrong, or just a bit 'odd' :)


March 7, 2017

For a sample of contemporary usage, I searched Google News.

"Indeed, it gives insurers almost no other choice but to stop covering abortion..." --Vox, US

"Jenkins felt she had no other choice but to resign," --Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"'That was an offering to people who didn't have an opportunity to have a livelihood - who had no other choice but to beg,' Baatz said." --Colorado Springs Gazette

"based on what we saw, we have no other choice but to cast this early proclimation:[sic] Wonder Woman will indeed be the kick-off to a brand new era of DC Films projects."--comicbook.com

"With limited cap space, a ton of needs and 24 unrestricted free agents on the dock, the Bills may have no other choice but to let their No. 1 cornerback pursue greener (literally) pastures in free agency."--Website about the Buffalo Bills football team

"Since Doctor Strange had no other choice than to bargain with Dormammu..."--moviepilot.com, original Berlin-based, it seems.

"The sheriff said the deputies 'had no other choice but to shoot the man.'"--Greenville News

"I have no other choice than to assert my right to live,"--The Guardian (UK)

"We are so good when our backs are against the wall and we are so good when we have no other choice but to win..."--The West Australian

"'I thought there was no other choice but Rachel and she's a Dallas girl, so we're going to keep that trend rolling,' JoJo exclusively told E! News"

My tentative conclusion is that in the US, "not other choice but..." is overwhelming more common than anything else.



March 7, 2017

I have used all 3 in those kinds of sentences.  

A - I MOST frequently use.  

B- I used until I was about 25 ( I was born and raised in Indiana, and this was the way I heard it most then. I moved away at 18, and have not lived there since.  Other places I have lived, I heard "A" more, so I gradually switched.

C- I used occasionally, but after using it, I thought "that didn't really sound right!"  :)



March 7, 2017
I am English and to be honest we use all three when talking amongst friends, but formally in an English reading/ writing assessment A or B would be the best option but in general conversation, in England all three are acceptable. :) hope this is useful.
March 7, 2017

Some discussions deserve to be on the first page for more than a couple of hours... This is one!

Far more beneficial and instructional than asking about the weather, IMHO.

So, let's support italki's most valuable member and contributor - and let's hear from some other native English speakers...

March 7, 2017
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