It is essential for anyone learning English to know how to express contrast in a sentence, like in this example: He wants to buy a new car, but he doesn’t have enough money. The most common way to do this in English is with the use of but in English. This very popular word is also used to change the subject, to explain something after you made an excuse or apologized for something, or to reply to someone when you want to indicate surprise or protest. Today we will go over five other ways to say but in English. Also, you will learn more about how to use but in English grammar.
But is a conjunction, which means it connects words, phrases or clauses in a sentence. As mentioned above, this conjunction can be used in four different situations. Let’s take a look at each one of them.
This is probably the most common use of the word but. We use it to express contrast, to introduce something that is completely opposite to the idea we expressed before.
Here are a few examples:
Sometimes you need to say more on a topic. You can play devil’s advocate by arguing the other side of an opinion or believe using but. Here are a few examples:
With most apologies in English, we use but to introduce the reason for the apology. Let’s take a look at some sentences:
Sometimes people surprise you, for better or for worse. It’s common to use but to express that surprise and the reason. Let’s take a look at some short dialogues that show how to use but this way in English.
– Julia, I don’t want to go out tonight.
– But why, honey? It’s going to be super fun!
– Mom, I need some extra cash.
– But I gave you $100 yesterday!
– I should quit my job
– But you are so good at what you do!
There are some other, better, ways to say but in English. You may be wondering why you would want to do that, so let’s answer this question. There is nothing wrong with using the same word over and over again, but most English learners do that not as a conscious choice but because they don’t know any other way. This section gives you five synonyms of but. If you learn how to use these, your English will be more sophisticated.
Another word we can use to express contrast is however. Think of this as a formal way to say but. We can use this adverb in the middle of the sentence, in the beginning, and also at the end of a phrase. Here are a few examples from the Collins dictionary:
The second option to express contrast is the phrase on the other hand. It means your idea is from a different point of view. It is often preceded by the phrase on the one hand. Here are a few examples:
Another common option is the conjunction although. Here is a sentence for you to understand how to use although with a similar meaning to but:
You have probably heard of the word though, right? If so, you may be asking yourself what the difference is between though and although. The fact is that they mean the same thing: the result of a situation is unexpected. However, though is more common than although and much more common than although in speaking English. When texting or writing something on social media, people often spell though in a different way: tho. You should never use the spelling tho in emails or in academic writing. It is not correct. Let’s have a look at some sentences in which we can use though in a similar way to but:
Ready to really level up your English? Try using nevertheless (pronounced like three individual words: never-the-less). You can use nevertheless to express contrast. It is often used in formal English. “Nevertheless, she persisted” is a popular phrase associated with the feminist movement in the United States. It means that a woman continued to work in the face of obstacles. Here are some more examples of how to use nevertheless in a sentence.
What other common words in English would you like to learn synonyms for? We hope this information about other ways to say but in English helps you improve your vocabulary!