Alternatives to BUT! Use better words in English ✅

Lesson Overview

BUT is a common English word, so today, I want you to learn 12 alternatives to BUT, so that you can expand your vocabulary and use more words in English!

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It’s time to increase your vocabulary and sound more intelligent with these 12 alternatives to BUT & BUT NOT:

  • Although …
  • Though …
  • That said …
  • However …
  • Nevertheless …
  • Yet …
  • Conversely …
  • On the other hand …
  • Excluding …
  • Except for …
  • Apart from …
  • Bar …

Video Transcript
Section 1
Hey there I’m Emma from mmmEnglish and in today’s lesson, we’re gonna look at this small but very important word and we’re gonna learn twelve better ways to say but. Well, maybe not better but definitely different and definitely more interesting.

But is an incredibly useful word and we use it a lot in English. But if you want to bring your English up to the next level and you want to expand your vocabulary, learning some alternative words and some expressions to use instead of but is an excellent way to do it.

So are you ready to stop saying but?

Let’s dive in.

Let me start by saying that there is absolutely nothing wrong with using but. English speakers use but all the time but by adding some variety to your vocabulary and expanding the range of English words that you use regularly will help you to sound less repetitive, less robotic when you’re speaking. Plus it’s fun to try new things.

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In this lesson, I’m gonna start with the most casual words and phrases that you can use instead of but. But as we go further through the lesson they’re going to get a little more formal and perhaps there’ll be some new ones that you’re not super familiar with.

I’m going to use this little scale down here to help explain how formal or how informal something is. The scale’s out of five with one being the most informal and five being the most formal.


Though, for example, is really quite casual but nevertheless is really quite formal.

We can use though and although instead of but to show contrast.

  • I wanted an ice cream but I didn’t have any money.
  • I wanted an ice cream though I didn’t have any money.

Both though and although are more flexible than but because they can go in the middle of the sentence like we see here or at the beginning of our sentence like this.

  • Although I didn’t have any money, I wanted an ice cream.

Though can even go right at the very end.

  • I wanted an ice cream, I didn’t have any money though.

In spoken English though is more common than although.


Although is slightly more formal.

Actually I want to talk specifically about though especially when it comes at the end of the sentence because it is so common in spoken English.

You’ve probably heard it before and maybe you’ve wondered what on earth it meant or maybe you thought it was one of those things that native speakers say even though it’s not proper grammar.

It is though! It is proper grammar.

Having though at the end of a sentence like this indicates a contrast or an opposing idea in exactly the same way as we use but.

You thought it wasn’t proper grammar but it is or: It is though.

That said

Here’s a good one! We can use the phrase that said when we speak and we use it to add an opinion that contrasts something that has just been said.

  • I like working from home. That said, I miss socialising in the office.

We can use the adverb however in the same way but however is slightly more formal and we can use it in both written English and spoken English. That said is mainly used in spoken English.

  • I like working from home however I miss socialising in the office.

However’s position in the sentence is a little bit more flexible. We can put it at the beginning of our sentence between the subject and a verb or at the end of a sentence as well.

On the one hand / On the other hand

I wonder if you know this one.

On the one hand and on the other hand is a two-part phrase and it shows the difference between points of view or different facts.

  • On the one hand, I’d like to earn more money.
  • On the other hand, I don’t want to work 40 hours a week.

You may hear just the second part of this expression used particularly in spoken English, it’s really common for native speakers just to drop the first part and then say on the other hand, as they mentioned the alternative fact, the different fact.

You’ll also commonly hear and or but added as well. It just helps the sentence to flow better and to sound a little bit more natural.

  • I’d like to earn more money but on the other hand, I don’t want to work a 40-hour week.


Now things are starting to get a little more formal.

Yet is another alternative to but. It’s a linking word just like but. We use it in exactly the same way.

  • A corkscrew is a simple yet effective tool.

Just like but, yet can link two sentences, two clauses or two words of the same grammatical type together. So two adjectives, two nouns or two sentences as long as they’re the same type. And that’s why you’ll always find but and yet in the middle of a sentence.

  • The cafe was busy yet calm.

Yet is definitely more formal than but, we use it to draw attention to something, an interesting fact or maybe an observation and because it’s a little less common than but, it’s gonna help you to sound a little more formal while you’re speaking or you’re writing.


Conversely. Is that new for you? Conversely means in an opposite way. We can use it to introduce a statement that is the opposite of what we’ve just said.

  • In 2020 parts of Australia experienced terrible bushfires. Conversely, those same areas are now experiencing flooding.

Conversely can be quite formal and so it’s often used in written English, not usually spoken.


Nevertheless is a much more formal way of saying but. Can you say it with me? Nevertheless.

It’s used in writing and especially in academic English. It would probably sound a little bit strange if you just slipped that into an everyday conversation with someone, your neighbour for example.

Nevertheless is an adverb so we can place it in a few different parts of our English sentences. It can come at the beginning of a clause.

  • We had a tiny chance of winning that match. Nevertheless, the loss was still disappointing.

Or we can put it at the end of a sentence.

  • We had a tiny chance of winning that match. The loss was disappointing nevertheless.

Sometimes we use but not to exclude something or not include it.

  • The library is open daily but not Sundays.

So the library is open every day excluding Sunday.

So when this is the case, we can replace but not with a number of different expressions and we’re going to focus on those now.

  • Except for
  • Apart from
  • Excluding
  • Bar

Except for
Apart from

Except for and apart from are definitely less formal and they’re quite neutral as well. You can use them in both formal and informal situations.

  • I’ve just finished all the presentation slides except for the last two.


Bar, on the other hand, is the most formal. You would probably use it at a work setting, you know in a professional context or perhaps informal or academic writing.

Have you heard of this word before? Have you heard it used in this way?

  • I finished all the presentation slides bar the last two.

So that’s it! Twelve alternatives to but. But is so common in English and it means that learning some of these alternatives will really help you to step up your conversation skills.

And if that sounds like something you want to do make sure you check out this lesson next. Hit subscribe, give this video a like.

Thank you for being here. I’ll see you in the next lesson!

Links mentioned in the video

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