Is there any semantic difference between “absolutely no x, except y” and “except y, absolutely no x”?

Bit of a quibble on a discussion elsewhere.

I made the following statement:

They had absolutely no debt, except for their mortgage.

Someone (with whom I disagree vehemently) has accused this of being a self-contradicting statement.

I argue that the meaning is identical to:

Except for their mortgage, they had absolutely no debt.

Am I missing something, or am I right in thinking that the meaning of these two statements is exactly the same, and that the inclusion of except in an absolute statement does not render the statement self-contradictory but simply makes the single exception clear?


OP’s friend is the most extreme pedant I’ve ever heard of! Here are 136,000 written instances of absolutely nothing except.

I imagine this guy would positively foam at the mouth if he ever came across quite unique (admittedly less common, but still 120,000 instances).

Source : Link , Question Author : The Evil Greebo , Answer Author : FumbleFingers

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