Posted by Manjusha; You are here: Home > Practical English Usage > But

As a conjunction

But, as a conjunction, is used to join contrasting ideas.

As a preposition

But, as a preposition, can mean except after all, none, every, any, no etc.

The expression but for is used to express the idea of if something had not existed/happened.

After but we usually use object pronouns. Subject pronouns are also possible in a formal style.

Cannot but + infinitive

Cannot but + infinitive or cannot help but + infinitive is often used with the meaning of canít help -ing.

But meaning only

But, as an adverb, can mean only. This is very unusual in modern English.

See Also

Back and Again
Bath and bathe
Beat and win
Because of, due to, owing to and on account of
Before and in front of
Begin and Start
Belong to, belong on and belong in
Below and under
Between and among
Between and during
Between and from
Big, large and great
A bit
Born and borne
Bring and take
But, though, in spite of, despite
By and with