Fuorché (foo-ohr-kai) means “except,” “but,” “apart from” and we use it often, especially in higher registers of language. It always comes in a pair with tutto, tutti, ogni and nessuno, and it always accentuates what we are saying. For instance, oggi posso fare tutto fuorché studiare (“I can do everything today but studying”), or non mi va di vedere nessuno fuorché Giacomo (“I don’t want to see anybody except Giacomo”).
Fuorché is formed by two words, fuori, which means “outside,” or “out of,” and che. This is why, in some old-fashioned books, you can find it written fuor ché, instead of fuorché. If you look at it that way, it becomes easy to understand its meaning!
While we don’t really know when fuorché became popular, we are sure Dante used it, because it’s in the Divine Comedy, where our Sommo Poeta wrote that Tanto giù cadde che tutti argomenti/A la salute sua eran già corti/Fuor che mostrarli le perdute genti (Purgatorio XXX, 136-138) or, to say it as H.W. Longfellow, his first American translator, “ So low he fell that all appliances/ For his salvation were already short/ Save showing him the people of perdition.”
If fuorché was good enough for Dante, it should be good enough for us, too!
– Posso aiutarti in tutte le materie, fuorché la matematica
– I can help you with all subjects, except maths
– Ho conosciuto tutti i tuoi cugini fuorché Anna
– I have met all your cousins but Anna
– Mi piace tutto fuorché il formaggio
– I like everything except cheese