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In an exercise on synthesis, the teacher set this question:

The rest of the houses along this street were destroyed by fire. The first house was not destroyed (use 'except')

Her answer is:

"The rest of the houses along this street were destroyed by fire except the first one."

My answer is:

"All the houses along this street, except the first one, were destroyed by fire"

Which is correct? Should be use 'The rest" or "All"?

Also:

Where do we usually place the 'except' phrase? Which of the following is correct (or preferred)?

All the students in the ballet class are girls except john. or

All the students in the ballet class except John are girls.

Thank you very much.
Comments  
I would say that your answer, "All the houses along this street, except the first one, were destroyed by fire" is correct. You start with 'old' or 'known' information and move to the 'new' information using a contrastive conjunction.

Your teachers answer of "The rest of the houses along this street were destroyed by fire except the first one" starts with 'new' information and after the contrastive conjunction adds more 'new' information.

This might help you, especially the first point.

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/600/01 /

As for your other two sentences, the first one "All the students in the ballet class are girls except john." seems more correct to me for the same reason above. The second one exists but usually only in spoken, informal english
rest and except do not make sense to me together in such a context, it's like you have a repetition in making an exception.

Yours seems better.
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Thank you very much for your replies.

It seems that the sentence should start with words like 'All', 'Every' or 'None' to show general truth, followed by 'except' to single out the odd-man-out. Are there any other such words?

I have another related question (sorry) about the number for 'None'

We can say "None of the boys wears a blue shirt" - we use singular verb 'wears' in agreement with 'None'

How about this: 'None of the boys who are at the party wears a blue shirt". My teacher said should use 'is' instead of 'are' as all verbs after 'None' have to be in singular form. Is she correct?

Thank you.
Oh dear, Ponggol, I hate to say this, but if you have correctly understood what your has said, your teacher needs a few more lessons herself!

The verbs that need to agree with none should be singular. "the boys who are at the party" is an entirely separate phrase, and the verb "are" needs to agree with "boys."
would it be more appropriate if we add some punctuations?

None of the boys, who are at the party, wears a blue shirt.

is that right?
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That gives it a different meaning, Noori.

None of the boys who are at the party - this is a restricted set of boy. Which boys do you mean? The ones at the party.

None of the boys, who are at the party, ... - this gives additional information about the boys, but you mean ALL of the boys.
It would also be better to use the verb 'wear' in the present continuous tense in your sentence, Ponggol.