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07 February 2009

But or However

My sweet husband has been driving me crazy with his questions about when to use "but" and when to use "however". He is in the midst of a proposal writing frenzy and apparently he no longer can decide? I personally think he has lost his marbles, so I am reaching out to my readers. When does one use "but" and "however"? Are they interchangeable? I think not, yet it is a point of contention in my home today, so please help settle this once and for all. When should one use "but" and when should one use "however"?

Seriously, we need help. If anyone doubts me, we have been singing the lyrics to "Conjunction Junction, what's your function?" for a day now and is that not just a little bit sad?

FYI: this first aired in 1973, yes we are that old! For those who have never seen it or want a trip down memory lane, check it out here!

Thank You!


Kathleen said...

I was an English major, so you think I would know this.

I think they're interchangeable, as is nevertheless (one more thing to add to the mix!). Try Googling it to see.

blueviolet said...

I haven't the slightest clue! I'll bet Kathleen is right. You could find your answer through a google search.

Tami said...

LOL I have the CD, SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK! My middle son was listening to it the other day. He laughed the whole time. I said you may learn something *I'm just a Bill" he finally figured out how a bill is made from that song*wink

Economics is not Daniel friendly =/

Good luck in finding out =)

OGLADI said...

OK. I think I have the answer.

BUT is a coordinating conjunction (like and, or, for, nor, yet, so) and can join words, phrases, or clauses of equal rank. Joins parallel structures, not just clauses. No punctuation required.

HOWEVER is a conjunctive adverb (nevertheless, moreover, therefore, further, then, consequently, besides, accordingly, also, thus) that modifies the clause that it introduces while conjoining two independent clauses. Connects and modifies. Requires a semicolon before and a comma after.

Not interchangeable in every circumstance.

Source: "The Business Writer's Handbook" by Brusaw, Alred, Oliu
That was a fun one!

One Anxious Mommy said...

Hmmm. Don't know that one. I always wonder about "bring" and "take" though.

•´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Erin.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´• said...

I dun know I never learnt the English good.


I was always told you needed a comma before "but" and you shouldn't start a sentence with it. Not that I never have. That is about the extent of my knowledge, I always thought they are interchangeable. But {see I'm a rebel} what do I know!

kailani said...

I think it's fine to us either. It's just a matter of preference.

pam said...

Sadly I used to know this, but now the old steel trap doesn't retain this kind of knowledge.

I think I will just go have another one of those yummy chocolates you sent me!! I may be able to think better with a mouth full of chocolate.

mannequin said...

It's another book, Jennifer....

Sarahlcc♥ said...

Just don't use either too much ~ I proofed this one fellows paper, and it was riddled with something similar to 'however' at the beginning of ALMOST EVERY SENTENCE. Okay, I may be exaggerating, but it seemed like EVERY SENTENCE! The next paper he gave me, the first things I did was go through and eliminate the offending overused phrase. Problem solved. Sounds like a stress-filled time for you guys ~ hang in there! (yay cat, Thai food and internet!)