I have the sentence: "But although you hate me now, I believe that you will forgive me over time." I'm not sure if the phrase makes sense because the words are essentially the same word. Any help?

  • 1
    The two words are unrelated. But apparently continues the thought process from before (a previous sentence, maybe), while although connects the upcoming two clauses: "you hate me now" and "I believe ... ". Please provide the broader context.
    – Kris
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 8:57
  • If you like, "But" emphasises "although"… Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 21:55
  • 1
    I'm not sure why anything else was written after Kris's accurate and complete response. Commented Jun 1, 2019 at 16:36
  • although you hate me now is a parenthetical insertion, and should be set off by commata on both sides. This makes it clearer that the payload of But begins with I believe. Commented Oct 30, 2019 at 2:13
  • You're missing a comma.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 20, 2021 at 20:18

3 Answers 3


The proper punctuation is "But, although you hate me now, I believe that you will forgive me over time." (With a comma after "But".) The phrase "although you hate me now" is a "parenthetical" (an expression which can be omitted without changing the syntax), and it should be set off by commas in normal usage.


The sentence is OK. The words but and although are not the same, since if they were the same, either word could be left out and the sentence would still make sense, and have the same meaning:

  • Omit but and the sentence is still correct and has the almost same meaning:

    "Although you hate me now, I believe that you will forgive me over time."

  • Omit although, and there appears to be a word missing or a punctuation or syntax problem:

    "But you hate me now, I believe that you will forgive me over time."

    And yet notice how the meaning can be preserved by moving the leading conjunction to the middle:

    "You hate me now, but I believe that you will forgive me over time."

  • So would it also be okay to say: So although you hate me now, I believe that you will forgive me over time. Right?
    – YOLO_03
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 7:09
  • Yes, that would also be OK.
    – agc
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 7:32


This is a tautology. The definition of tautology according to OLD:

The saying of the same thing twice over in different words, generally considered to be a fault of style (e.g. they arrived one after the other in succession).

BBC Academy has a guide called "BBC News style guide", which includes a page on grammar, spelling and punctuation, it says, among other things, the following (this is a direct quote from their page):


Try to avoid them. Common examples include:

advance warning, armed gunmen, universal panacea, She has given birth to a baby boy, mutual co-operation, fixed phone line, local resident, crew members, past history, exact replica, anti-government rebel forces, pre-conditions, pre-planned, Sharia law (Sharia means Islamic religious law), weather conditions

Double contrast

In the cases illustrated above, it is quite clear what one means, for example "armed gunmen" are clearly people who are armed (the added armed does not call into question the meaning of the word gunmen).

In your case this is different, both but and although indicate contrast, so the but serves no purpose in "But although". Therefore, one could just write:

"Although you hate me now, I believe that you will forgive me over time."

When "but although" can be correct

The above does not mean the combination "but although" is always wrong, they can be used in a way where both contrast on different aspects. I do not have a proper example, but I can refer to this answer on ELL, which argues (also without an example of the two words being used next to each other) both words can be used in a contrastive conjuncture.

  • On a plain reading of the OP's quote, the sentence wouldn't stand alone - there is an implied statement from which the OP's sentence draws a contrast. The function of but isn't related to that of although.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Mar 17, 2018 at 2:13
  • @Lawrence are you sure about the existence of a preceding sentence? It could be that the sentence is used after an action, e.g. calling the cops on your child, then saying the quote. The OP would know their child is angry through body language, an angry facial expression, perhaps even a middle finger pointed at them.
    – JJJ
    Commented Mar 17, 2018 at 2:34
  • 1
    I can’t guarantee that the greater context makes sense, of course. I’m just saying the quote doesn’t make sense except in the context of a preceding sentence, extant or implied. The but doesn’t serve the same purpose as the although there.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Mar 17, 2018 at 6:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.