Grammar-QuizzesConnectorsCoordinator › But / But still

But / But still

State a contrast or concession

coffee with sugar
 

Contrast vs. Contrary Reasoning

CONTRAST

But, however, while, whereas are followed by a clause expressing contrast to the idea or situation in the other clause.  (Contrast means that the central idea or situation of one clause is opposite to the idea or situation 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.

CONCESSION / CONTRARY REASONING

But still, yet, though, although, even though are followed by a clause expressing contrary logic to the idea or situation expressed in the other clause. (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

*but — a coordinator (and, but, or, nor) cannot be placed before both of the coordinated clauses

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 connectors that are placed before the clause that expresses the contrasting idea.  A final period ends the clause before it. A comma separates the connector from the clause that follows.

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 that links the clause before it to the clause or phrase after it. No punctuation is used before or after the connector.                                                                                

CLAUSE CONNECTOR + CLAUSE

I like sugar in my coffee

in contrast to Edward who likes black coffee.

I like sugar in my coffee

in contrast to honey in my coffee.

I like sugar in my coffee

in contrast to in my tea

I like drinking my tea slowly

in contrast to gulping it down.

 

In contrast  is a connective prepositional phrase.

in contrast to is a prepositional phrase (PP) that links two similar elements (i.e., nouns, gerunds, prep. phrases)  See Prep Complements.

However is a connective adverb.

Also see Connective Adverbs.

 

 

 

Paired Contrast Connectives

On the one hand / On the other hand

 

 

 

On the one hand, On the other hand

INITIAL CLAUSE — PART ONE

On the one hand is an expression paired with on the other hand.  The phrase, separated by a comma, is followed by a clause expressing an idea or situation.                        

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

On the other hand, separated by a comma, is followed by a clause expressing a contrary idea or situation to the one mentioned in the sentence before it.

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 what the other part is without actually saying it. "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 Connective 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 connective 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 connective 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

CONNECTIVE PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE

commaDespite, regardless and in spite of. Despite and regardless are connective prepositions that 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.

 

 CONNECTIVE ADVERB

commaEven so and nevertheless are connective adverbs. A comma separates the connector 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

BEFORE CONNECTOR

no commaWhen though, although, even though, or despite + clause is positioned after the main clause, no comma is used before the connector.

MAIN CLAUSE CONNECTOR + PHRASE/CLAUSE

I've studied English for a long time

though I don't speak it very well.

I've studied English for a long time

despite disliking it.

BETWEEN CLAUSES

commaWhen though, although, even though, or despite + clause is positioned before the main clause, a comma is placed after the clause.

CONNECTOR + PHRASE/CLAUSE MAIN CLAUSE

Though I don't speak it very well,

I've studied English for a long time.

Despite disliking English,

I've studied English for a long time.

 

"I don't speak well" is a finite clause. /  "disliking it" is a nonfinite clause (formerly called a phrase).

 

 

 

Punctuation—Coordinators

BEFORE CONNECTOR

A comma separates the connector but + clause or but still + clause from the main clause.

MAIN CLAUSE CONNECTOR + CLAUSE

I've studied English for a long time,

but I don't speak it very well.

I've studied English for a long time,

but still I don't speak it very well.

BETWEEN CLAUSES

The connector but + clause or but still + clause cannot be positioned before the main clauses.

CONNECTOR + CLAUSE MAIN CLAUSE

*But I don't speak it very well,

I've studied English for a long time.

*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).

 

 

 

 

 

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Grammar Notes(Advanced)

Traditional Grammar and Linguistic Description

 

 

Traditional / ESL 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) 
circumstance 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

  • Azar, Betty Schrampfer, and Stacy A. Hagen. Understanding and Using English Grammar. White Plains, New York: Pearson Longman, 2009. Print.
  • Biber, Douglas, and Stig Johansson, et al. Longman Grammar Of Spoken And Written English. Harlow: Pearson Education, 1999. Print.
  • Huddleston, Rodney D., and Geoffrey K. Pullum. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2002. Print.
  • Swan, Michael. Practical English Usage. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.
  • Quirk, Randolph and Sidney Greenbaum. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. 7th ed. New York: Longman Group, 1989. Print.

 

 

 

 

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