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In the question sentence:

He is seventy-five, he still__ (but, however) pays regular visits to his old mother.

Which word can be put in the blank? The answer books says "however" but it sounds quite odd to me. Can however be used in this discourse context, and why?

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He is seventy-five, he still but pays regular visits to his old mother, sounds by far the stranger to me. – Kaiser Octavius Jun 20 '13 at 13:13
For that matter, however isn't that much better. A much better phrasing would be, "He is seventy-five, but he still pays regular visits to his old mother." – Kaiser Octavius Jun 20 '13 at 13:15
he still however pays... sounds ok to me – mplungjan Jun 20 '13 at 13:42
But (like and and or, but unlike however and German aber) can't niche in a sentence. It's gotta come before either a clause or the remains of a deceased clause, like It was strange but tasty from It was strange but it was tasty. – John Lawler Jun 20 '13 at 13:57
@mplungjan: Yes, but I was referring to the comma splice. – Kaiser Octavius Jun 20 '13 at 13:58

3 Answers 3

"However" can be used provided it's set off with commas and the comma splice is fixed somehow.

He is seventy-five; he still, however, pays regular visits to his old mother.

Though he is seventy-five, he still, however, pays regular visits to his old mother.

You can use "but" so long as you put it earlier in the sentence.

He is seventy-five, but he still pays regular visits to his old mother.

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Though and however (and but) are alternatives: using two is odd at best. – TimLymington Jun 21 '13 at 17:13

He is seventy-five. Still, he still pays regular visits to his old mother.

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Is this a typographical error? You are supposed to pick either "but" or "however" to fill in the blank. – Kaiser Octavius Jun 21 '13 at 0:35
-1 Sorry, but you're confusing the waters. Where is but or however in your answer? – Mari-Lou A Jun 21 '13 at 23:34
The additional conjunction is needed because your sentence is ambiguous; it might mean nevertheless or even after such a long time. – TimLymington Jun 22 '13 at 10:22

However is generally used where we are unsure of how something happened. For example:

I did not prepare for the exams, however I managed to pass.

Here I was not sure of a pass but I passed.

Look at this:

I did not prepare well for the exam still I appeared for the exam.

Here I knew that I was not prepared, but knowing that, I appeared for the exams for the sake of it.

So still and however go hand in hand depending upon the context.

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That is not what was asked. – Kaiser Octavius Jun 20 '13 at 14:51
Thanks, but I answered the heading "correct use of however". Didn't you notice that? – Venugopal M Jun 20 '13 at 14:54
The question was whether to use "however" or "but" in the given sentence. And you describe somewhat irrelevantly the difference between "however" and "still". – Kaiser Octavius Jun 20 '13 at 15:00
An illicit however? – Edwin Ashworth Jun 20 '13 at 16:38
-1 "Answering" the heading is not useful or sensible. The heading is merely a title, a point of reference. You can't answer it. If you want to answer something, you need to answer the question. Moreover, your answer is ungrammatical, and contains unintelligible statements. You discuss "still," which isn't one of the words in question, and you say "still and however go hand in hand," which is strange and indecipherable. I give you credit for trying to be helpful, but you really should try to be a little more certain that you have something of value to contribute when you post an answer. – John M. Landsberg Jun 21 '13 at 5:51

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