Difference between however and but

Students often confuse the words however and but. The main difference is that but is a conjunction whereas however is a transitional adverb. That means we use but to connect two clauses.

  • She was angry but she said nothing.
  • He is struggling to make both ends meet but he does not want to work.

Note that but is used to connect two contrasting ideas.

We can express the same idea using however.

  • She was angry; however, she said nothing.
  • He is struggling to make both ends meet; however, he does not want to work.

As we have already seen, however is not a conjunction. That means we cannot use it to connect two clauses. Put a semicolon or a full stop before however and a comma after it. If however goes after a semicolon, start it with a small letter.

Exercise

Rewrite the following sentences using however.

  1. It was raining but we went out.
  2. She worked hard but she failed the test.
  3. I was the most deserving candidate but I didn’t get the job.
  4. She has all the money in the world but she is unhappy.

Answers

  1. It was raining; however, we went out.
  2. She worked hard; however, she failed the test.
  3. I was the most deserving candidate; however, I didn’t get the job.
  4. She has all the money in the world; however, she is unhappy.
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Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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