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Ça ne sert à rien d'alimenter les ragots de l'école.

Rien ne sert d'alimenter les ragots de l'école.

I wonder if there is any notable difference between the two constructions.

Incidentally, is "Ça ne rime à rien de..." synonymous with "Ça ne sert à rien de..."?

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No notable difference.

The second is kind of old-fashioned and the only exemples that come in mind are proverbs like « Rien ne sert de courir, il faut partir à point. » − La Fontaine

More generaly, the second is rarely (never?) used without another proposition after, whereas the first could be a sentence alone.

And whatever is the proposition after you could still use the first construction, which is, again, more common nowaday.

"Ça ne rime à rien de..." synonymous with "Ça ne sert à rien de..."?

Absolutly. Exact same meaning. I don't know the reason and I can't find any other verbe than "rimer" that could fit here (to replace 'sert')…

  • Merci. Does the following phrase have a slightly different meaning: "Ça ne nous avance/avancera à rien de..."? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Jul 24 '16 at 5:30
  • @LUNA they both convey the same meaning – Laurent S. Jul 24 '16 at 9:02
  • I wouldn't say the second is never used but it's indeed more formal and old-fashioned. It is therefore used to give some style to a speach or a text, while the first would look a bit incongruous in written languague from where I see it. – Laurent S. Jul 24 '16 at 9:07
  • @Laurent S. Merci. I'm a little confused as to what "the first" and "the second" in your comment each refer to. Are you mentioning "avance" versus "avancera", or "servir" versus "avance/avancera"? Actually, I wanted to find out if "servir", "rimer", and "avancer" all mean the same thing in this usage, or if they are nuanced in meaning? Thanks. – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Jul 24 '16 at 22:35
  • @LUNA my second comment wasn't for you but for stéphane – Laurent S. Jul 24 '16 at 22:57

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