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For instance, I would normally write the following sentence:

Many were the dangers arrayed against me, but I had no fear.

Is it grammatically incorrect to write instead:

Many were the dangers arrayed against me, and I had no fear.

I noticed this whilst speaking with a co-worker, and found he extremely rarely used the conjunction 'but', favoring 'and' instead. Though it sounds strange to me, I cannot find anything to say this is grammatically incorrect.

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    I have no choice but to think long and hard about this challenge.
    – J.R.
    Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 18:56
  • Many instances of "but" could be replaced by "and" without a loss of factual accuracy, but the meaning and connotations of what was meant by the sentence would almost always change.
    – user867
    Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 2:23
  • Sorry I didn't answer sooner- I was making a peanut butter but jelly sandwich.
    – Jim
    Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 6:09
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    @Jim: It's worth pointing out that the question asks about replacing but with and, but not the other way around. It's much easier to think of examples where and cannot be replaced by but than vice versa.
    – J.R.
    Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 8:35

2 Answers 2

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The conjunction but means the same thing as the conjunction and, in most cases. They both contrast with the disjunction or.

There are plenty of idioms that use but, like but for that, nothing but the best, But why?, and the like, but in normal use the logic is the same.

The difference between and and but in non-idiomatic usage is that
but carries a presupposition that something else was expected.

  • Bill washed the dishes and Mary dried them.
    (no presupposition)
  • Bill washed the dishes but Mary dried them.
    (presupposes that Mary was not expected to dry them)

Other words can be used to implicate expectations, like beside(s), except, or instead (of), but they're not coordinating conjunctions like and, or, and but.

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‘And’ and ‘but’ are coordinators. ‘Instead’ isn’t. It’s an adverb, so it cannot be grammatically substituted for either. However, in speech, it’s not always easy to identify sentence boundaries.

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    Did you misunderstand the question? Both mentions of 'instead' in the question are merely using it within the sentences: discussing using the word "and" instead of using the word "but".
    – TrevorD
    Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 0:03

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