What is the Difference Between "But" and "However"?

But and however can have the same meaning if we use them before a contrasting, unexpected clause. In the following sentences, but and however are used in the same sense:

  • The campaign is good but they should not go over the top. 
  • The campaign is good, however, they should not go over the top
  • I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it
  • I am patient with stupidity; however, not with those who are proud of it

But is a conjunction (joining two clauses and comes at the beginning of the second clause) while however is an adverb (conjunctive adverb). Notice that however comes after a semi-colon (and at times, a full stop)  and it is enclosed with commas on the examples above.  Having the characteristics of adverbs, however can go in various positions in a sentence, as shown below:

  • Fate, however, moves quite as certainly and mysteriously as the cosmic law.
  • However, fate moves quite as certainly and mysteriously as the cosmic law.
  • Fate moves quite as certainly and mysteriously as the cosmic law, however.
Designed by Neil Yamit