But / Though

Express defeat versus challenge

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Brian worked in marketing for two years, but lost his job when his company down-sized during the bad economic recession. Brian wants to continue pursuing his career, yet he has several difficulties to face.

Brian's future will depend on his being able to remain optimistic and put his best foot forward.  The following are two states of mind:

 

 

 

 

A but vs. though state of mind

BUT – AN OBSTACLE / DEFEAT

After a statement of intent, but introduces a clause with a contrasting thought— often an obstacle or reason for setback or defeat.

Brian is focused on the obstacles!

Brian hopes to find a new job, but few employers are hiring. He stood in line to get into a job fair, but he found nothing in marketing. He also, wants to go to business school, but he has no savings to pay tuition or to support himself while studying.  He'd like to get some additional training; however, he's unsure where to get it.  Brian doesn't know where to get started. He's letting the obstacles overcome him and keep him from his goals.

THOUGH – A CHALLENGE

After a statement of intent, though introduces a clause with an obstacle or difficulty in the way of success – something that often can be overcome. (Though is a conjunction.)

Brian is focused on his goals!

Brian hopes to find a new job though few employers are hiring. He stood in line to get into a job fair though he found nothing in marketing. He also, wants to go to business school although he has no savings to pay tuition or to support himself while studying.  He'd like to get some additional training even though he's unsure where to get it.  Brian is prepared for the challenge. He is overcoming challenges in order to meet his goals.  

 

challenge (N) – a difficulty that tests strength, skill, or ability, especially in an interesting way

encourage (V) – inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence

defeat (N) – a difficulty that results in loss or failure; being overcome

discourage (V) – not give courage, spirit, or confidence

down-sized (Adj) – decreased, let go unnecessary workers

face (V) – to deal with or manage a difficult situation

hire (V) – offer a job, employ; (N)

marketing (N) – promoting a business, advertising, and selling, etc.

no ifs, ands, or buts (expression) – do not make excuses

obstacle (N) – something that makes it difficult to achieve something; a block

optimistic (Adj) – believing that good things will happen in the future

pessimistic (Adj) – doubtful that good things will happen in the future

put your best foot forward (expression) – do your best

setback (n) – a problem that delays or prevents progress

state of mind (expession) – way of thinking

stuck (Adj) – unable to move away from a bad situation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But vs. Though

Obstacle or Challenge?

 

 

 

But vs. Though

INTENT BUT OBSTACLE

Brian planned on attending a job fair,

but

the line to get in wrapped around the block.   (It discouraged him. it.)

Brian hopes to find another job,

but

few employers are hiring.        (It's unlikely.)

Brian expected to get a lead at the Job Fair,

but

he found nothing in marketing. (He left disappointed.)

Brian would like to go back to school,

but

he has no savings.  (He can't pay and doesn't want to ask his parents.)

Brian wants to get some additional training,

but

he's unsure where to get it. (He's stuck. He's doubtful about making that first step.)    

INTENT  THOUGH CHALLENGE

Brian planned on attending a job fair

though

the line to get in wrapped around the block.   (He stood in it anyway.)

Brian hopes to find another job

though

few employers are hiring.  (He'll find one.)

Brian expected to get a lead at the Job Fair

though

he found nothing in marketing. (He found other options.)

Brian would like to go back to school

though

he has no savings. (He will find other funding or a scholarship.)

Brian wants to get some additional training

though

he's unsure where to get it. (He will check with counselors at the local community college.)

 

But is a coordinating conjunction. 

Though, although, and even though are subordinators.  Grammar terms vary:  adverb clauses (Azar 17.3-11); preposition "adjunct of concession" (Huddleston 8 §13.2); conjunction (Swan 49) "subordinating conjunction" (Biber 2.4.8); adverbial clause (Biber 15.39-40).  For details, see Connector Review Grammar Notes

Also see Beginning a sentence with "and", "so" or "but" |  Pop-Q "Though".

 

 

Resources

 

 

 

 

 

Practice

The Interview

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Is it an obstacle or a challenge?

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. Include the idea of the words in parentheses. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or "check 1-10" button.

 

1.

2.

3.

4.
He went despite the distance.

5.

under-qualified (Adj) – not having sufficient skills or knowledge


6.

7.

8.
)

9.
  (He was discouraged and gave up. )

10.