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I'm in Asia teaching English. A student asked me a question about a grammar point in her textbook, and it seemed quite strange to me. The book states that the word "but" can be used before a verb in a negative sentence in order to form a double negative, taking the place of "that does not," "who do not," etc. Some of the example sentences given were:
"There is no mother but loves her own children."
= "There is no mother who does not love her own children."
"There were few people but were hurt."
= "There were few people who were not hurt."
"There is no book but he likes to read."
= "There is no book that he doesn't like to read."
"There is nothing but he can do."
= "There is nothing that he can't do."
Every one of these sentences seems strange to me, and I was sure that it must be some kind of mistake on the part of the author, who is not a native speaker. I did find one entry under "but" on Dictionary.com, though:
"7. who not; that not: No leaders worthy of the name ever existed but they were optimists."
Is this perhaps an archaic or extremely uncommon usage, or do I just suck at English?