But / But still

State contrast vs. contrary logic

coffee with sugar
 

Contrast vs. Contrary Reasoning

CONTRAST

But, however, while, whereas express a contrast between the previous clause and the one that follows.  (Contrast means that the central idea of one clause is opposite to the idea in the second clause.)                                                                                                                                    

MAIN CLAUSE CONTRAST

He asked for another cup of coffee,

but there was no more. 
He asks for some. There is no more.
 

He asked for another cup of coffee.

¹But there was no more.

He asked for another cup of coffee.

However, there was no more.

He asked for another cup of coffee;  (semi-colon)

however, there was no more.
However is more commonly used in writing.

CONTRARY LOGIC

But still, yet, though, although, even though express a contrary logic between the previous clause and the one that follows—illogical cause-effect. (Contrary means that the idea in one clause is opposite in expectation, opinion, or reasoning to the idea in the other clause.) 

MAIN CLAUSE CONTRARY LOGIC

There was no more coffee,

but still he asked for another cup. (He knows there is no more coffee and asks for more.  Why?)

There was no more coffee,

 

yet he asked for another cup. 

Though there was no more coffee,

he asked for another cup.

He asked for another cup of coffee

though there was no more.

 

 

contrary (Adj) – opposite in nature, character or reasoning; illogical

contrast (N) – a difference, an unlikeness in comparison with something else

in opposition – the action of opposing, resisting, or combating

¹ Beginning a sentence with "and", "so" or "but"

Also see But / though for implied meanings .

 

 

 

 

Contrast Connectives

While, Whereas, But

 

 

 

While, Whereas, But

INITIAL CONTRAST CLAUSE

commaA while or whereas clause (not but) may be placed before the main clause to emphasize the content or to place heavier (longer) content toward the end of the sentence. A comma separates the clauses.

CONTRAST CLAUSE STATEMENT CLAUSE

While I like sugar in my coffee,

Edward likes black coffee.

Whereas I like sugar in my coffee,

Edward likes black coffee.

*But I like sugar in my coffee,

Edward likes black coffee.

FINAL CONTRAST CLAUSE

commaA while, whereas, or but clause that is placed after the main clause is separated by a comma.                                                                                                                                                                                    

STATEMENT CLAUSE CONTRAST CLAUSE

I like sugar in my coffee,

while Edward likes black coffee.

I like sugar in my coffee,

whereas Edward likes black coffee.

I like sugar in my coffee,

but Edward likes black coffee.

 

black coffee (expression) –coffee without sugar or milk

See FANBOYS coordinators  for "fronting" and "reversibility"

 

 

 

 

Contrast Connectives

In contrast vs. In contrast to

 

 

 

In contrast, In contrast to, However

SECOND SENTENCE

commaIn contrast and however are connectives that are placed before a clause that expresses a contrasting idea. A comma separates the clauses. See Linking Adverbs.

CLAUSE CONNECTOR + CLAUSE

I like sugar in my coffee.

In contrast, Edward likes black coffee.

Edward likes black coffee.

In contrast, I like sugar in my coffee.

I like sugar in my coffee.

However,  Edward likes black coffee.

Edward likes black coffee.

 

However,  I like sugar in my coffee.

FINAL CLAUSE

no commaIn contrast to is a "double preposition" [P [PP] that is complemented by a noun phrase or a gerund clause that expresses an opposite idea. No comma is used before a prepositional phrase.

CLAUSE CONNECTOR + CLAUSE

I like sugar in my coffee
(subjects)

in contrast to Edward who likes black coffee.

I like sugar in my coffee

(objects)

in contrast to honey in my coffee.

I like sugar in my coffee

(prep phrase objects)

in contrast to my tea

I like drinking my tea slowly
(gerunds)

in contrast to gulping it down.

 

In contrast to is a prepositional phrase (PP) that is complemented by a noun phrase or gerund clause.

in contrast to (and not / but not) is used between two similar elements (i.e., nouns, gerunds, prep. phrases)  See Prep Complements.

 

 

 

 

 

Paired Contrast Connectives

On the one hand / On the other hand

 

 

 

On the one hand, On the other hand

INITIAL CLAUSE — PART ONE

We use the prepositional phrase (PP) on the one hand to introduce a sentence with an idea to which we will later add a contrast. (This expression is paired with "the other hand".)

INTRODUCTORY PP CLAUSE

On the one hand,

I like milk and sugar in my coffee.

On the one hand,

Edward likes black coffee.

INITIAL CLAUSE — PART TWO

The prepositional phrase (PP) on the other hand begins the second sentence with the contrasting idea. A comma separates the phrase from the rest of the clause.

CONTRAST PP CLAUSE

On the other hand,

Edward likes black coffee.

On the other hand,

I like milk and sugar in my coffee.

 

Sometimes, a speaker will use one half of this expression, and expect the listener to understand the implication of the second part. "On the one hand, we have a lot of work to do."  Possible implication: "On the other hand, no one is doing it" 

Also see Linking Adverbs  and Comparisons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contrary Logic vs. Concession

But still, Yet, But anyway

 

 

 

Relate contrary logic vs. Admit an irregularity

CONTRARY LOGIC

But still, yet, and but…anyway express that the idea in one clause is opposite in expectation, opinion, or action to that in the second clause . But still, yet, and but…anyway are categorized as linking adverbs. A comma separates the "contrary" clause from the one before it.                                                      

FACT / SITUATION CONTRARY ACTION

He's vegetarian,

but still he has to cook meat for other people. (He's a chef.)

I tell him the truth,

yet he doesn't believe me.

She is only thirteen,

but she won three gold medals anyway. (an unexpected achievement)

CONCESSION—ADMIT AN IRREGULARITY

But…still, yet, or but…anyway are followed by a clause which expresses concession. (We admit to something that does not logically fit with the previous statement.) We express that we are giving in on a (one) point in our argument. But…still, yet, and but…anyway are linking adverbs.

OPINION / BELIEF CONCESSION

He's vegetarian,

but still he eats eggs occasionally.

I mostly tell the truth,

yet sometimes I tell a white lie.

She is thirteen years old,

but she writes to Santa Claus anyway. (an action of a younger person)

 

give way (verbal phrase) – yield, admit, concede, give in

concession (N) – admit that something does not logically fit with the previous statement.

illogical (Adj) – not logical; not following expected reasoning

See Grammar Notes for terminology.

 

 

 

 

Connector Placement

Despite vs. Even so

 

 

 

Despite, Even so

CONNECTOR— PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE

commaDespite, regardless and in spite of. Despite and regardless are prepositions which take a noun phrase or gerund clause as the complement. In spite of is a "double preposition" [P [PP]

ASSERTION / ARGUMENT CONTRARY LOGIC

Despite being vegetarian,

he eats fish.

Regardless of her broken toe,

she went dancing.

 

In spite of saying they were too busy to go,

they went to the dance.

 

CONNECTOR—LINKING ADVERB

commaEven so and nevertheless are linking adverbs. A comma sets the connective off from the clause.                                           

ASSERTION / ARGUMENT CONTRARY LOGIC

He's vegetarian.

Even so, he eats fish.

She broke her toe.

Nevertheless, she went back on stage and danced.

They said they were too busy to go.

Nonetheless, they went. 

assertion (N) — a statement that something is true 

contrary logic — The idea in the following phrase is opposite in expectation, opinion, or action to the idea in the other clause.

nevertheless – 1250–1300; Middle English; replacing natheles, notheles natheless

Also see:   Because/Though | Because of / In spite of…

 

 

 

 

 

Clause Order

Coordinators vs. Subordinators

 

 

 

Punctuation—subordinators

SECOND CLAUSE

no commaThough, although, even though, despite, etc. are "heads" of prepositional phrases. They function as subordinators. The subordinated structure may be placed first or second without affecting the meaning. No comma is used.

MAIN CLAUSE ADJUNCT PREP PHRASE

I've studied English for a long time

though I don't speak it very well. (concession)

I've studied English for a long time

despite disliking it. (contrary ideas)

INTIAL CLAUSE

commaThe adjunct prepositional phrase with—though, although, even though, despite may also be "fronted", placed before the main clause. A comma separates the clauses.                                                                                         

ADJUNCT PREP PHRASE MAIN CLAUSE

Though I don't speak it very well,

I've studied English for a long time

Despite disliking it,

I've studied English for a long time.

 

 

 

 

Punctuation—Coordinators

SECOND CLAUSE

commaBut, but still, yet share properties of both coordinators and subordinators. As a coordinator but (contrast), the clauses are reversible before and after but. As subordinator but still, yet, but anyway (concession or contrary ideas) the clauses are not.

MAIN CLAUSE [COMMA] COORDINATED CLAUSE

I've studied English for a long time,

but I have studied French for a short time. (contrast)

I have studied French a short time, 

but I've studied English for a long time.  (A coordinator is reversible.)

MAIN CLAUSE [COMMA] SUBORDINATED CLAUSE

I've studied English for a long time,

but still I don't speak it very well. (concession)

*I don't speak it very well,

(A subordinator is not reversible.)

but still I've studied English for a long time. 

INTIAL CLAUSE

But, but still, yet cannot be "fronted", placed before the other clause in initial position.

COORDINATED CLAUSE MAIN CLAUSE

*But I have studied French a short time,

I've studied English for a long time.

 

 

SUBORDINATED CLAUSE MAIN CLAUSE [COMMA]

*But still I don't speak it very well,

I've studied English for a long time.

 

 

 

See Coordinator v Subordinator properties  (how they differ).

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar Notes

Traditional Grammar and Linguistic Description

Advanced

 

 

 

Traditional and Linguistic Descriptions

TRADITIONAL GRAMMAR LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION
CONTRASTIVE  

but
coordinating conjunctions
"Showing Direct Contrast" (Azar 16-4,19-7)

while, whereas
adverb clause "Showing Direct Contrast" (Azar 17-5, 19-7)

however, on the other hand
Transition "Showing Direct Contrast" (Azar 19-7)

while, whereas, but
adjunct of concession.contrast (whereas, while/whilst, when)  (Huddleston 8 §13.2);
discourse marker. balancing contrasting points (Swan 157.2) 
circustance adverbial.concessive.(Biber 844)

however
connective adverb (yet, however) (Huddleston 6 §6,15 §2.9)
contrastive.linking adverb. (Biber  2.3.4, 7.14.3, 10.4.3.1)
adverb (Swan 49.3)

in contrast, in contrast to, on the one hand, on the other hand
connective adjuncts. prepositional phrases (Huddleston 8 §19-20, 563) /
— linking adverbs.prepositional phrase. (Biber 10.4.3.1)
discourse markers. balancing contrasting points (Swan 157.2)

 

CONTRARY / CONCESSIVE  

but…anyway, but…still, yet…still–
Conjunctions
"Showing Contrast (Unexpected Result) (Azar 19-6)

though, even though, although–
Adverb clause
"Expressing Contrast" (Azar 17-4)

nevertheless, nonetheless, however…still
Transitions
"Showing Contrast (Unexpected Result)  (Azar 19-6)

despite, in spite of, despite the fact that, in spite of the fact that
Prepositions
"Showing Contrast (Unexpected Result)  (Azar 19-6) 

yet, but…still, but anyway
adjunct of concession.coordinator  (Huddleston 8 §13.2);
conjunction (Swan 49) ;
linking adverbs. –yet, so, neither (Biber 2.4.7);
coordinator/ subordinator –yet, so–  (Quirk 2.4.7.2)

though, even though, although
prepositions.concessive adjuncts  (Huddleston 8 §13.2);"
conjunctions (Swan 49.1) 
circumstance adverbial. concession.subordinator (Biber 10.2.8.9-11);
adverbial clause (Quirk 15.39-40) 

even so, nevertheless, nonetheless, despite, regardless of, in spite of
— prepositions.concessive adjuncts  (Huddleston 8 §13.2);
discourse markers. (Swan 157.2)

 

 Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Ray and Rena — personalities and habits

teens
 

Complete the sentence with a connector for contrast.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

1.


clueless (Adj) – has no idea, thoughts on it
clue (N) – A piece of information that helps someone figure something out.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.


sprain (V) – to damage a joint in the body by twisting it

8.

9.

10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Ray and Rena as Students

 

 

 

Complete the sentence with a contrary or contrasting idea.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or "check 11-15" button.

 

11.





12.





13.





14.





15.





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Ray versus Rena — after school

store clerkhouse painter
 

 

Add punctuation to the connectors  (connectives).

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or "check 16-22" button.

 

16.

17.

18.
.

19.

20.

21.

22.


outgoing (Adj) – very social