Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody! My name is Alisha.
In this lesson, I'm going to talk about "but" and "yet" and I'm going to focus on two parts of speech. We can use "but" and "yet" for both of these parts of speech, but we need to keep in mind the different meanings that result.
So, let's get started!
The first part of speech I want to talk about is using "but" and "yet" as a conjunction. So, a reminder, when I say "part of speech," I mean the function of the word in the sentence, so that means grammatically, what is the word's purpose? What is that word's job in the sentence?
So, a "conjunction" is a word that is used to make two ideas come together. We connect our ideas with conjunctions. So for example, like andโ€ฆ and, but, or, for, so, those kinds of things. So conjunctions, there are quite a few of them and some kind of, like phrases we can use as well, but we can use "but" and "yet" as conjunctions. When using these as conjunctions, they mean the same thing, so we can connect our ideas and they have the meaning of "however," however. So they have the same meaning, same function as conjunctions.
"Yet" sounds more formal than "but," so we tend to use it in a more formal situation. In most everyday situations, we use "but" to connect our ideas. It would sound too formal, too polite, to use "yet" in most everyday conversations.
Let's look at some examples:
First: We wanted to go shopping, but we were out of time."
Here, "but" connects this idea with this idea; "we wanted to go shopping" and "we were out of time." So, "out of time" means we used all our time. We had no time remaining. So we connect these ideas with the conjunction "but."
Another example:
"You said dinner would be $20, but it's actually $50!"
Here again, two ideas being connected. In this case; "you said dinner would be $20," it's a past tense statement; "but it's actually $50" so here is a present tense statement. We connect these ideas with "but."
Now, let's see some examples where we might use "yet" as a conjunction.
"They gave their best effort at the championship match, yet we're defeated."
So, here we're showing probably a team working hard at a championship match, that's point [A], yet [B] "they were defeated.| So yes, we could use the word "but" here. They have their best, but we're defeated. That's also okay. Using "yet" here shows it's kind of a more formal situation. Maybe this championship match was very important to this team or it was like a very important match in the sporting world, overall. So "yet" kind of elevates, it brings the level up of formality.
One more example:
"She said she wasn't interested in the job, yet she sent an application."
So here, point [A], "She said she wasn't interested," "yet she sent an application." So here again, this is probably like a work-related situation, so using "yet" shows it's a bit more formal. It's perhaps a bit more polite. So using "yet" is going to make your sentence sound more formal. Connecting your ideas with "yet" will increase your politeness level a bit.
So, this is how we use "but" and "yet" as conjunctions. Let's compare this then to using these words as "adverbs." As adverbs, these two words are very different in meaning. When we use "yet" as an adverb, it means "up to this point in time."
So, for example, many students probably know a sentence likeโ€ฆ
"I haven't finished my homework yet."
Or "I haven't done the laundry yet."
So there's that feeling of expectation with "yet." Meaning, up until this point in time, this thing has not, in many cases, been finished, but there's some expectation there. We can kind of see this in like the same way when we're using "yet" in these example sentences I'll show you.
Compare this to "but." When we use "but" as an adverb as you'll see in some examples, it means "just" or "only." I also want to note, with these speech patterns that I'm going to introduce, these are formal speech patterns. We don't use this so often in everyday speech. The "yet" patterns, you might hear in business English, in more formal situations, work situations. These sound a little formal and, in some cases, maybe a little old fashioned, but from time to time, you may hear patterns similar to these, so I would like to explain them.
First, let's look at using "yet." As I said, "yet as an adverb" means "up to this point in time."
"They have yet to reply to our offer."
So, another way to say this would be, "They haven't replied to our offer yet." That's another way to say it. That's probably the more common way to say it, "They haven't replied to our offer yet." It sounds a little more casual. That sounds like an everyday speech pattern. This sounds more formal, "They have yet to reply to our offer." So if you want your speech to sound a little more formal or if you're writing something, you can use this pattern, "They have yet to reply to our offer" or "They haven't replied to our offer yet" means the same thing. Either way, there's some expectation. You're expecting that there's going to be a reply. It just means up until this point, there hasn't been one, so we use "yet" to communicate that.
Another example:
"I have not yet finished my proposal."
So here, "yet" is being used to talk about someone's expectations for themselves. So, I have not yet finished my proposal shows up until now, my proposal has not been completed, but I expect to complete it. So, another way to say this that would be more like casual everyday speech would be, "I haven't finished my proposal yet." So using "yet" sounds quite natural and much more casual when we use it at the end of the sentence, but when we use it in this position, it makes the sentence sound more formal.
Okay! Also, you'll notice maybe one other grammatical point, in case you have a question about this. In this sentence, I have, "I have not yet finished" and here was "they have yet to reply." So you'll notice that here, I've used "I have not yet finished." So theseโ€ฆ these two sentences are both expressing lack of something, so not finishing and not receiving a reply, but there are these two patterns that we can use. So yes, they have yet to reply means they haven't replied yet. That's okay to use. So you could say, for example, they have not yet replied to our offer. That's also okay to use. It's up to you. To me, this one sounds a little more formal using this infinitive form, but you can use both of these patterns to express that lack of something.
Okay! Let's go on then to talking about "but." As I said, these are fairly kind of formal, maybe a little old fashion, so you might not hear them as much.
Let's look at this example:
"Don't quit! We're at but the first stage of our project."
So this "but," I know it seems probably a little weird, but this is how we would use this as an adverb. So, as I said, "but" means like just or only. So think of it as that. So if we use "only" here, for example, "only" would be modifying the first stage, so like the first stage or like the first step of a project. "We're at just the first stage." "We're only at the first stage." "But" has that meaning. "We're at but the first stage" but using "but" instead of "just" or "only" sounds more formal. "We're at but the first stage of our project, so don't quit." It's only the first stage.
Let's look at one more example.
"This is but a small error. Don't worry."
So here again, if we replace "but" with just or only, we can see maybe more naturally the meaning.
"This is just a small error. Don't worry."
Or "This is only a small error. Don't worry."
"But" makes it sound more formal. So again, we don't use this speech pattern so much in everyday speech, but you may hear it from time to time, especially in, kind of more old-fashioned media that uses this style of English. So, this is what it means, "but." It means "just" or "only" when used as an adverb.
Okay. So, this is a quick intro to how to use "but" and "yet" as adverbs and to use them as conjunctions. There are other uses of these words, but I wanted to compare these two, especially conjunctions because there are many questions about the differences between these two words, so I hope that this was helpful for you. If you have any questions or comments or if you want to practice making a sentence with these words, please feel free to do so in the comment section. Thanks very much for watching this lesson and I will see you again soon. Bye-bye!


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Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Saturday at 07:19 AM
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Hello Sergey,

Thank you so much for your kind message! ๐Ÿ˜‡โค๏ธ๏ธ

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Good luck with your language studies.

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Saturday at 01:54 PM
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The explanation is very accessible and intelligible, without any doubt, Alisha is the best teacher.

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Thursday at 03:51 PM
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Hello Freda, Chuva and Susanta,

Thanks for all your comments! Glad you're all a fan of EnglishClass101!

@Susanta - We can help you with this through your 'My Teacher' app. You can ask your teacher to send you specific details on the meaning and uses of 'but' and 'yet.'

Enjoy your studies!



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Freda Pachuau
Thursday at 01:49 AM
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Don't learn too much English and I have problem in listening skills,but I heard everything you said and probably i really enjoy and easily I can get your points whatever you explaining ,absolutely way better than I expected and.Iwill never missing the class ๐Ÿคฉ Thank you so much and keep it up Mrs Alisha

Wednesday at 11:49 PM
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thank you Alisha.

i have no words to say, but you simply the best.

kind regards

Wednesday at 07:01 PM
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Hi Mam (Alisha.)

Thank you for your teaching process I like it (First Lession). I want to practice these two words But and Yet. If you send it to sentence for practice. I want to habituated to use but and yet words without any hesitation to talk with others or writing.