A basic concept we learn in English is the use of conjunctions. These conjunctions can be ‘and,’ ‘but,’ ‘so,’ among others. While conjunctions alone can be easy to understand, putting these conjunctions together is what makes things complicated. Like, is saying ‘but although’ even correct? Let’s see and find out!
Is ‘But Although’ Correct?
‘But although’ is grammatically correct. We use it to show a contrast between a previous idea and an idea we are about to introduce in a new sentence. We use it to start a sentence except in a formal context where we do not start a sentence with a conjunction.
‘But’ mainly shows the contrast between the idea of the previous sentence and the idea you’re about to introduce in a new sentence. Take a look at the example below.
- I want to buy a new bag. But, I don’t have enough money.
In the example above, ‘but’ shows a contrast in the idea that the person wants to buy a new bag and the idea that the person does not have enough money to do so.
On the other hand, ‘although’ shows contrast in the two ideas you’re about to present in the sentence. In a way, it’s like saying ‘despite the fact that.’ Take a look at the example below.
- I woke up early today, although I slept late.
- Alternative to: I woke up early today, despite the fact that I slept late.
In the sentence above, ‘although’ shows that despite the fact that the person slept late, the person was able to wake up early.
Altogether, ‘but although’ is just another way of saying ‘but, despite the fact that.’ Take a look at the example below.
- They make too much noise. But although I didn’t mind the noise at first, it became distracting later on.
In the sentence above, ‘but’ shows the contrast between the idea of ‘they make too much noise’ and ‘I didn’t mind the noise at first.’ Then, ‘although’ shows the contrast between the idea of ‘I didn’t mind the noise at first’ and ‘it became distracting later on.’
Does ‘Although’ Mean The Same As ‘But?’
While the two conjunctions are similarly used to show a contrast between ideas, ‘but’ and ‘although’ do not necessarily mean the same. ‘But’ is used to introduce an idea different from a previous one, while ‘although’ is more synonymous with ‘despite the fact that.’
The main difference between ‘but’ and ‘although’ is that, ‘although’ is more specific as to what clause you can put it in. Take a look at the example below.
- It wasn’t the best weather, but we went for a walk.
- We went for a walk, but it wasn’t the best weather.
- Although it wasn’t the best weather, we went for a walk.
In the examples above, we can see that ‘but’ can be placed with either of the clauses, and it still makes sense. It is because ‘but’ simply joins two contrasting ideas. On the other hand, we can only put ‘although’ with the ‘it wasn’t the best weather’ clause because it only makes sense to say ‘despite the fact that it wasn’t the best weather, we went for a walk’ compared to ‘despite the fact that we went for a walk, it wasn’t the best weather’ which does not really make sense.
Of course, there are cases where ‘although’ is interchangeable between the two clauses. Take a look at the example below.
- She is smart, but she is lazy.
- She is lazy, but she is smart.
- Although she is lazy, she is smart.
- Although she is smart, she is lazy.
The four sentences make sense and ‘although’ is fit for either of the clauses. However, the meaning of the two conjunctions retain. ‘But’ is used generally when connecting two ideas, while ‘although’ means something along the lines of ‘despite the fact that.’
How To Punctuate ‘But Although’
We punctuate ‘but although’ as ‘But although [insert an idea],’ or ‘But, although [insert an idea],.’ Of the two punctuations, ‘But although [insert an idea],’ is used more commonly among writers and speakers. However, we never say ‘But although, [insert an idea].’
The only punctuation mark we use with ‘but although’ is a comma and we use it either after ‘but’ or after an idea that we put together with ‘although.’ However, we do not say ‘but, although,’ or ‘but although,’ before an idea, because we are not supposed to separate ‘although’ and the idea.
It’s best to understand the rules for punctuating ‘but although’ by looking at the rules for ‘but’ and ‘although’ separately. When we start a sentence with ‘but’ we say, ‘But, she’s not smart’ for example, and we put the comma after ‘but.’ However when we start a sentence with ‘although,’ we say, ‘Although she’s not smart, she’s kind’ for example, and we put the comma after an idea and not ‘although.’
In the same way, ‘But, although’ is correct but ‘but, although,’ and ‘but although,’ are incorrect. The correct and most appropriate way to punctuate ‘but although’ is ‘But although [insert an idea], [another contrasting idea].’ Take a look at an example with correct punctuation below.
- But although I wasn’t present throughout the whole process, I see their hard work in their output.
Can You Start A Sentence With ‘But Although?’
Yes, you can start a sentence with ‘but although,’ mostly in informal contexts. While it is not entirely wrong to start a sentence with ‘but although’ in formal writing, some English professionals may discourage doing so. Nonetheless, there’s nothing grammatically wrong with starting your sentence with ‘but although.’
How To Use ‘But Although’ In A Sentence
We use ‘but although’ when introducing a sentence that contains an idea contrary to the idea of a previous sentence. However, within that sentence are also two other contrasting ideas. Below are examples of how to use ‘but although’ in a sentence.
- I worked hard. But although there were times of procrastination, I still put in my best effort.
- Our team won first place! But although there were lots of challenges, we managed to pull through.
- I am removing you from the team. But although you’ve contributed very little, you’ve been more of a burden than a help to us.
- I can’t do this anymore. But although I know you’re trying to make it work, I think it’s best if we both let go.
- I didn’t win. But although I know I tried my best, others were better than me.
‘But Although’ Synonyms
‘But although’ has other sibling words and phrases that are synonymous with it. Below are some synonyms of ‘but although.
- But despite the fact that
- But albeit
- However though
- However, even if
- Though, much as