"But" vs. "However"

Published on 24 Nov, 2016

Generic Grammar


This debate has been on for a while now, perhaps even since the origins of the English language, and time has done little to dull the disarray.

"But" and "however" essentially mean the same thing and serve the same purpose, then why is the punctuation they use different?

There's a simple explanation for this.

"But" is a conjunction, and "however" is a conjunctive adverb.

Confused yet?

Don't be!

Simply put, "but" would use a comma to split two sentences, while "however" would use a semicolon or full stop to split the same sentence.

For instance:

  • Amazon recorded an operating margin of about 8% in 2011, but this was a highly variable margin, which was 18.4% in 2010.
  • Amazon recorded an operating margin of about 8% in 2011. However, this was a highly variable margin, which was 18.4% in 2010.


Make it Easy

Notice how "however" takes a comma after the word, while "but" does not?




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