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I have read in a grammar book that bare Infinitive is used after 'but' : "He did nothing but cry". Still I'm a bit confused about the following two sentences :

(1) He wants nothing but to be free.

(2) He wants nothing but be free.

Which one is correct?

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To add to what CJ says, "want" is one of many verbs that take only to-infinitivals.

Only a handful of verbs, like "do" and the verbs of sensory perception like "see" and "hear" for example, take bare infinitivals:

He does nothing but sleep all day

I saw no one but Ed leave the bank.

I've never heard anyone but Elvis sing that song.

Comments  
Sandip Kumar

I have read in a grammar book that bare Infinitive is used after 'but' : "He did nothing but cry". Still I'm a bit confused about the following two sentences :

(1) He wants nothing but to be free.

(2) He wants nothing but be free.

Which one is correct?

(1) is correct. You need the phrase that completes "He wants".

He wants to be free is correct; He wants be free is not.

CJ

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