what to say instead of but in English

What to Say Instead of “But” – 8 Easy Alternatives

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Don’t know what to say instead of but? In this article, I will show you eight easy alternatives for the English word but.

The English word but is a short and easy word. It’s one of the first words you learn when you start learning English. 

As a result, we use it a lot. Maybe even too often.

The problem is that you don’t want to sound repetitive.

As a confident English speaker, you want to know good alternative words you can use instead of “but.”

When you write and speak English professionally, it’s good to know other ways to say but.

The Meaning of “But”

alternatives for but
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The English word but is a conjunction. Therefore, we use it to connect two ideas

By saying but, you add another statement.

Usually, this additional idea is different from the first idea. Thus, you can use but to link and contrast two different ideas.


It’s been a good year for our business, but we have to do a lot more to reach our goals. 

The meaning of but in the dictionary

Keep Punctuation and Sentence Structure in Mind with “But”

but - Business English vocabulary

What do you have to keep in mind if you want to use alternative words for but?

In most cases, the conjunction but will come after a comma.

The country’s economy is in a recession, but people are still buying our products.

If you are wondering what to say instead of but, remember that you sometimes cannot simply replace the word without changing the sentence.

In some cases, you cannot simply swap the words and leave the rest of the sentence.

Instead, you have to start a second sentence or use a semicolon to divide the two ideas in the sentence.

For most of the alternatives I will show you, you have to change the structure or punctuation of your sentence.

You have two options: Start a new sentence or use a semicolon.

___________________; however,______________.

___________________. However, ______________.

You can use a semicolon when you join two independent clauses together. Here is a list of examples you can use with a semicolon, but there are many others that also work.

  • however
  • moreover
  • therefore
  • consequently
  • otherwise
  • furthermore
  • nevertheless
  • thus
  • yet
  • for example
  • namely

Let’s look at eight ways to say but – but by changing each sentence a bit.

What to Say Instead of But

1. however


The word however is most often used to show a contrast. 

You can use however to introduce a different idea by starting a new sentence or by separating two closely related sentences with a semicolon. 


Tim is one potential candidate for the job. However, there are others.

It’s been a good year for our business; however, we have to do a lot more to reach our goals. 

2. though


The word though is another alternative to but. It is mainly used in speaking. 


We need to hire help, though it will be difficult to find the right person for the job.

I speak English quite well, though I have never had formal lessons. 

3. whereas


The word whereas is a more formal alternative to but. We use it to show a contrast between two ideas. 


She’s very hard-working, whereas I struggle to achieve my goals.

He complained about the problem, whereas I was looking for solutions.

4. although


You can also use although instead of but to link two different statements. 

Although is used more in writing. Just like though, it means ‘in spite of.’ Read more about the difference between though and although here.


I liked the ideas he presented in the meeting, although I don’t think the board will accept them.

This month has been productive overall, although we had to multitask a few times.

5. yet


The word yet is used to add a new statement that is in contrast to the first statement. We often use yet in writing and rarely in spoken English.


She’s focused on her career. Yet, she also thrives in her personal life.

He presented very good ideas in the meeting. Yet, I don’t think the board will accept them.

6. except


If you want to say but not, you can use the word except instead. It means but not or not  including.


 Our whitepaper includes marketing topics, except social media marketing.

The whole team attended the meeting except Sarah.

7. nevertheless


The word nevertheless is a great alternative to but and however. We use the same punctuation as with however: either after a full stop or after a semicolon, then followed by a comma. 


Nevertheless, there may be other reasons that we don’t know about.

It’s been a good year for our business; nevertheless, we have to do a lot more work to reach our goals. 

8. despite this

/dɪˈspaɪt ðɪs/

If you want to replace but, you can also use despite this. This phrase introduces a contrast, as well. In this case, it means that the second statement is not influenced or prevented by what was said before.


The country’s economy is in a recession. Despite this, people are still buying our products.

She just returned from a business trip this morning. Despite this, she will attend the meeting.

Pro Tip: Use Writing Tools to See the Words in Context

Grammarly is a helpful tool that I use for all my writing. It’s an English proofreader. You can use the Grammarly app or browser extension to mark spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes. Grammarly even gives you suggestions on how to improve these mistakes!

Still not sure what to say instead of but? On the Thesaurus website, you can test which word you can use in your sentence instead of but. This feature is an easy way to see how your sentence looks with different synonyms.

I also recommend Writefull to any English learner. This is a powerful tool that helps you improve your writing for free. Whenever you are not sure how to use a word in English, you can look it up on Writefull and see how it is used in context with examples from real texts, such as books, news, and scientific articles. 


The English conjunction but is a great word. It’s short and useful. 

But… you can also use many other words and phrases instead of but to avoid repetition. 

Moreover, varying your vocabulary lets you communicate more clearly in English.

When swaping but with another word, pay attention to the sentence structure and punctuation – it might have to change. 

When you choose certain alternative words and phrases for but, you have to change the punctuation in your sentence.

Depending on which alternative you chose, you might need to add a semicolon or divide the sentence into two. 

You can use several online tools to help you write correctly in English.

Further Reading: Business English Words

Use these 20 words instead of “very” in business

15 Words to use instead of “good”

What to say instead of “important” in English

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