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On Apr 25 2016, radouxju answered that « Je ne lis rien que de monstrueux » = « Je ne lis (rien) que des monstruosités » (I only read montruous things).

  1. Please see the question in this subject line. Just like in math, please show all your syntactical steps and work.

  2. I noticed that radouxju wrote "(rien)" in round brackets. I know that rien signifies BOTH nothing and ""a small thing or "very"".

As time passed, accordingly to Jespersen’s cycle, the other word took the meaning of the negative and the “ne” became completely unneeded to get the negation, while in many cases the other word kept a positive meaning.

But I've never seen rien being optional! It's usually ne that's optional in some syntax.

  1. I consulted 3 French grammar books, none of them answered my questions. Please confirm whether their sections on que de are germane?

Hansen, The structure of modern standard French (2016), p 149. Cp. Glanville Price, A Comprehensive French Grammar (2007 6 ed), p 183, para 261.

Glanville Price, A Comprehensive French Grammar (2007 6 ed), p 245, para 333. Cp. Roger Hawkins, French Grammar and Usage (2015 4 ed), p 284, s 11.4.3.

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Je ne lis rien que de monstrueux is a rare and literary expression. Literally: "I read nothing but monstrous (things)", i.e. "Everything I read here is monstrous".

Here is an example of rien que de from Molière's Le Bourgeois gentilhomme:

Je ne lui vois rien que de très médiocre, et vous trouverez cent personnes qui seront plus dignes de vous.

Both of the remaining sentences have a more usual syntax:

Je ne lis rien que des monstruosités : "I read nothing but monstrosities."

Je ne lis que des monstruosités : "I only read monstrosities."

As you see, rien is optional just like "nothing" is not mandatory in English.

The rien que de + adj. expression is not described in your Grammar excerpt.

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