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ESL forum > Ask for help > Please help me    

Please help me

le ngoc qui

Please help me
Hi everyone, please tell me the difference between "but" and yet (conj). Are they interchangeable? Thanks in davance.

16 Sep 2018      

United States

They aren ´t exactly the same, but very close. I consider yet to sound more formal than but.
I perceive a slight difference in the type of contrast demonstrated by but and yet. I ´ve checked some websites. This says there is no difference, so you can go with that if you want.  
This lists nevertheless and however as synonyms of yet, but not of but. That is my impression, too, that yet shows a slightly stronger contrast than but.
So, if you use them interchangeably, you won ´t run into any trouble, but a native speaker won ´t necessarily use them exactly the same.

16 Sep 2018     

United Kingdom

I agree with Bruce. Also, to point out that but is by far more commonly used. An example of where only but can be used is, ´all but one ´ etc and in this instance it means except. Yet can mean that there is something else, something further to consider, as in the example, ´He said he didn ´t love her,and yet.. ´That is similar to however, as in the links provided.

17 Sep 2018     

[email protected]
United Kingdom

Yanogator and cuncliffe, what wonderfully clear explanations! Simple, yet thorough.

17 Sep 2018     

United Kingdom

Question. What is the difference between the conjunctions ´but ´ and ´yet ´ ?
In reply, I am in broad agreement with Bruce ´Yanogator ´ and Lynne ´Cunliffe ´.
The word ´but ´ is a conjunction, an adverb, and a preposition. The word ´yet ´ is a conjunction and an adverb only. In this respect, the two words are certainly not totally interchangeable.
In my opinion, the two words, ´but ´ and ´yet ´,  as conjunctions, are very close in meaning. But, on occasions, there are subtle, unwritten/unspoken differences.
"The Chambers Thesaurus", Edition 4, 2012, gives synonyms for the two words.
BUT - conjunction.                 YET - conjunction.
however                                   however                           
nevertheless                             nevertheless
nonetheless                              nonetheless                             
anyway                                    anyway
even so                                    even so
all the same                              all the same
just the same                            just the same
for all that                                 for all that
Formal: notwithstanding            Formal: notwithstanding
As you can see, according to the author, the word ´but ´ is a synonym of ´yet ´, but the word ´yet ´ is NOT a synonym of ´but ´.

Both words show a contrast between two things, usually.
Let us take a look at my example sentences, which use the conjunctions, ´and ´, ´but ´, and ´yet ´.
"She had five sons and she had five daughters." The reader can see that there is a comparison between the equal number of sons and the number of daughters.

"She had five sons but she had two daughters." The reader can see that there is a contrast between the unequal numbers of sons and the number of daughters.
"She had five sons yet she had two daughters." The reader may be able to see that there appears to be a greater contrast between the unequal numbers of sons and the number of daughters, but it is unwritten/unspoken.
If we change the sentence to: " ... yet she had only two daughters" the contrast becomes even greater.
If we take three more examples, but add comments after the sentences, perhaps differences between ´but ´ and ´yet ´ will become more evident to us.
"The man worked hard all his life, and ended with nothing ... how sad!"
"The man worked hard all his life, but ended with nothing ... life is often like that"
"The man worked hard all his life, yet ended with nothing ... I wonder why that happened? What went wrong?"
I suggest that the word ´yet ´ implies an even stronger contrast than ´but ´. It also seems to hint at unspoken/unwritten/unanswered questions regarding the contrast.
Les Douglas

18 Sep 2018     

le ngoc qui

Thank you very much

20 Sep 2018