We perceive a difference between "but" and "yet"; that is, they're not perfectly interchangeable.

So how can the difference be defined, anyway? They're both conjunctions.

I was trying to explain to someone why I had used "yet" instead of "but" to join two independent clauses, but I realized that I couldn't explain why.

I asked quite a few experts and did not get any thoughts.

And so...here we are on the internet. Begin!

  • 1
    It would help us help you, if you could please give us the whole sentence. 'But' and 'yet' are sometimes interchangeable but not always. It will depend on what you mean to say.
    – JeremyC
    Nov 4, 2018 at 23:03
  • All I know is I ain't dead yet.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 5, 2018 at 1:27
  • (It's important to understand that several of the senses of "yet" relate to chronology.)
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 5, 2018 at 1:29

1 Answer 1


I think there's a subtle difference, although we don't give it much thought when speaking.

I would use "yet" if you're adding an element of surprise.

He likes dogs, yet he is allergic.

I would use "but" otherwise.

He likes dogs, but he dislikes cats.

  • element of surprise: true. We can say that we use yet when we see that the next sentence is NOT going to be a normal consequence of the situation described in the first one.
    – Sristy
    Jan 28, 2021 at 11:24
  • Here 'he likes dog' might give a person a thought that he may not be allergic as a normal consequence of the sentence but the consequence is an opposite one.Hence we use 'yet'. Good point identified @heyitsme
    – Sristy
    Jan 28, 2021 at 11:25

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