10 Best Words to Use Instead of “But” to Start a Sentence

There are no grammatical reasons why you can’t start sentences with “but” (or other conjunctions). Some people don’t like it because they think it’s unoriginal or repetitive, but that doesn’t mean it’s incorrect. Still, this article will look at some other options you can use.

Best Words to Use Instead of But to Start a Sentence

The preferred words include using no conjunction, “however,” and “nevertheless.” If you really want to avoid using a conjunction, it’s possible to reword the sentence to make sure that “but” doesn’t come at the start of a sentence (it could come in the middle).

No Conjunction

Sometimes, no conjunction is needed. “But” doesn’t have to come at the start of the sentence. Instead, you can place it somewhere in the middle (or avoid it entirely) to help make your sentence flow a bit better.

Here’s an example to show you what we mean:

  • Darren and Suzie went to the market. But they weren’t sure what they would find.

In the above example, “but” starts the second sentence. Here are two options that could replace it:

  • Darren and Suzie went to the market, but they weren’t sure what they would find.
  • Darren and Suzie went to the market. They weren’t sure what they would find.

Example one allows “but” to work as a conjunction to connect the clauses rather than start a new sentence. Example two removes “but” entirely and just keeps the sentences independent.

  • Sally and Andrew wanted to go there later, but I wasn’t sure if that was going to work out very well for them.
  • I wanted it to go better, but I suppose I didn’t get much of a say in whether or not that was going to happen.
  • It wasn’t easy going out on that day, but I made sure to get things done my way. I’m glad I took the time to do it.


“However” is a common formal replacement for “but.” It works really well when you’re trying to contradict a previous point and add information that might help the reader to understand something more about what you’re saying.

  • The time is right. However, someone still wasn’t sure whether they wanted to continue moving with the plan, as we discussed.
  • It wasn’t over yet. However, it seemed like the other team had given up already. Maybe the game was closer to the end, after all.
  • You can’t say that. However, I understand why you might be feeling a little bit torn over this. I’ll see what I can do to help.


“Nevertheless” is another great option to use instead of “but.” It allows you to disregard the previous information so that you can make more sense of whatever comes in the clause that follows “nevertheless.”

“Nevertheless” can also be “nonetheless” in some sentences. They are synonymous phrases, so it depends on which one you prefer.

  • They did think about it together. Nevertheless, neither of them could come up with a decent solution that pleased both agendas.
  • I thought you had stopped coming. Nevertheless, you’re here now, and we have a few things that we could really use your help with.
  • We told you to wait. Nonetheless, we suppose you might be able to help us out since you’re here much earlier than we planned.


“Still” is a simple but effective word to replace “but.” It’s not all that common, but it works really well to show that some information still stands strong, even if the previous sentence or information might have gone against it.

“Still” is used when you’re trying to show that something still has meaning even if it contradicts your previous thought or idea.

  • The game was over. Still, both teams looked like they were ready to play some more. The fans were buzzing for extra time.
  • I thought about it. Still, I didn’t see why I had to worry about the outcome. It has nothing to do with me, after all.
  • They wanted more. Still, there wasn’t any way for them to express this to the others. They were going to have to settle with nothing.


“Yet” is a great replacement for “but.” It’s not always the most popular choice at the start of the sentence (most people prefer it in the middle), but it can still work well at the start.

“Yet” and “but” are almost entirely synonymous. If you can use “but” at the start of the sentence, you know you can use “yet” in the same manner. Make sure that a comma comes after it when it’s at the start.

  • Something was wrong. Yet, everyone seemed to be working on their own ideas. It made for a very awkward time for everyone.
  • I wanted to talk about it. Yet, Dan said it would be better if we waited until everyone had left to give us more space and privacy.
  • The teacher walked out of the class. Yet, most people continued working diligently on their assignments. I was very confused.

On The Other Hand

“On the other hand” allows you to introduce a countering point or new information. It works best when you’re creating a narrative that plays with two (or more) explanations or reasons behind something.

It’s commonly used with the introductory sentence “on the one hand.” You might start the first sentence with “on the one hand,” and the second sentence will then begin with “on the other hand.”

  • On the one hand, it made a lot of sense. On the other hand, someone had to do something to make sure that things didn’t go wrong.
  • I needed to know more. On the other hand, I wasn’t sure if it was my place to ask anyone else for help. I thought it best to wait it out.
  • I could have done that alone. On the other hand, it definitely helped to have a few extra hands to get me through it quicker.

To Counter That

“To counter that” is a decent sentence starter to replace “but.” It’s not commonly used because it works best when you’re introducing a counter-argument into a sentence. This is most apparent if you’re debating or discussing with other people.

  • The argument was clear. To counter that, Timmy decided it was better to talk over the student. It wasn’t an effective strategy.
  • I said many things. To counter that, someone else wanted me to explain one of my points, and I really didn’t have a good explanation.
  • The tides were high. To counter that, it seemed like nobody on the beach cared, and most of them stayed where they were.

Even So

“Even so” is a fairly popular choice when it comes to starting a sentence similarly to “but.” It allows you to introduce a contradictory idea to the previous sentence. It usually means you’ve done something against your better judgment.

For example, if someone has told you one thing, you might do something completely different. In this case, even though someone has given you guidance, you’ve ignored it, meaning that “even so” can introduce this ignorance.

  • I needed to go home early. Even so, I made the most of my time out with them. I didn’t just want to leave them all while they had fun.
  • I thought about it before. Even so, I couldn’t come up with a reason why we would ever do things this way. It was a bit ridiculous.
  • The teacher told us what to do. Even so, none of us really understood what was required. We just kind of smiled and laughed.

Despite That

“Despite that” allows you to cancel out the content of the previous sentence. While a fact may be true, “despite that” shows that you’re trying to ignore it, or you’re moving past it without putting any more thought into it.

“Despite that” (or “in spite of that”) are very popular choices when you’re looking for a more formal replacement for “but.” They work well because they allow you to move past the previous sentence without spending longer than you need to explain it.

  • There were a few rumors flying around. Despite that, I put on a brave face and tried to ignore most of the kids. It was hard to do.
  • I knew there was something going on. Despite that, I let it go behind my back. Now, I’m suffering from my negligence.
  • I thought you said something to me about this. Despite that, I guess you’ll have to come back and help me again later today.


“Except” is a tricky word to start a sentence with. People tend to avoid it because it feels more smooth to include in the middle of a sentence. Still, it’s a good choice to replace “but” in some cases.

  • I wanted more out of it. Except, maybe it would have been easier if I could have just done what I was supposed to do in the first place.
  • Tim said he could go. Except that his mother made sure that he wasn’t allowed out of the house after six. Bummer.
  • I could have told you that. Except, I didn’t think it was appropriate at the time. I didn’t mean to waste anybody’s time.

You may also like:
Is “But Nevertheless” Redundant? (Full Explanation)
Is “But Although” Correct? (Meaning & Punctuation)
10 Best Words to Use Instead of “And” to Start a Sentence