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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')…

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  • Merci. Does the following phrase have a slightly different meaning: "Ça ne nous avance/avancera à rien de..."? Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 5:30
  • @LUNA they both convey the same meaning
    – Laurent S.
    Commented Jul 24, 2016 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.
    Commented Jul 24, 2016 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. Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 22:35
  • @LUNA my second comment wasn't for you but for stéphane
    – Laurent S.
    Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 22:57

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