but Definition

  • 1used to introduce a phrase or clause contrasting with what has already been mentioned
  • 2used to indicate the impossibility of anything other than what is being stated

Using but: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "but" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    I have no choice but to leave.

  • Example

    She is intelligent but lazy.

  • Example

    He was poor but happy.

  • Example

    I can't help but laugh.

but Synonyms and Antonyms

Antonyms for but

Idioms Using but

  • used to introduce a statement that makes what has just been said seem less certain


    He's a good student, but what if he fails the test?

  • can't help but

    cannot avoid or resist doing something


    I can't help but feel sorry for him.

  • no buts

    used to refuse to accept an excuse or argument


    I don't want to hear any more excuses. No buts!

Phrases with but

  • almost; nearly


    The project is all but finished.

  • if it were not for


    But for your help, I would have failed.

  • only; just


    The movie was nothing but a disappointment.

Origins of but

from Old English 'be-utan', meaning 'outside of'


Summary: but in Brief

The conjunction 'but' [bสŒt] introduces a phrase or clause that contrasts with what has already been mentioned, or indicates the impossibility of anything other than what is being stated. It is often used to express limitations or exceptions, as in 'She is intelligent but lazy.' The phrase 'all but' means almost or nearly, while 'but for' means if it were not for. The idiom 'can't help but' expresses the inability to avoid or resist doing something.

How do native speakers use this expression?