Difference Between So and But

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between So and But

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Conjunctions are connective words that join or connect other terms in a sentence or phrase to create a complete and suitable statement. The primary purpose of this speech component, a conjunction, is to join or unite words in a way that results in an engaging phrase. Conjuncts of conjunctions are the pieces that make up a conjunction. Conjunctions must be defined uniquely for each language since there is a chance that the definition will overlap with that of a few other components of speech. One of these seven, "so," can function as a coordinating and subordinating conjunction. So can connect two independent sentences in a way comparable to "but" as a coordinating conjunction, and it can connect two unequal clauses as a subordinating conjunction. It's common knowledge among writing instructors that sentences should start with something other than coordinating conjunctions. Although it is not legally improper, starting a phrase with conjunction may be an effective way for talented writers to emphasize a point.

The correct use of conjugation is crucial for English grammar. A conjugation is a component of speech that effectively links two words, sentences, or phrases. Conjunctions are essential in communicating the overall message in spoken and written language. Conjunctions are significant because they help make sentences logical and understandable. To correctly transcribe audio files and other recorded materials, any transcriptionist must constantly be mindful of conjunction use. For instance, in the line "He is sleeping, so I walked downstairs," the coordinating conjunction expresses reason. "Sam was driving quickly, but he wore a helmet."

The unnecessary use of conjunctions may ruin the meaning of the statement. Despite being considered a speech component, they should be used more to impress people. The majority of sentences are simple. The easier a statement is to grasp by others, the clearer the notion it conveys. A negative offers a comparison or an exception ("They gamble, but they don't smoke. A consequence is presented via an illative (i.e., inferential) argument ("David gambled well last evening, so he smoked a cigarette to celebrate.``)

So Vs. But

The differentiation between the two words So and But is that So is used to indicate a conclusion or to, while But is used to demonstrate the opposite or to make an exception. Coordinating conjunctions, he was fat, so he started working out and could connect two independent clauses. Independent clauses may each function as a complete sentence, thus their name. However, we join them with a "so" to avoid sounding like automatons when we speak. Many people mistakenly believe that the words but and so frequently imply the same thing. But is used for contrast. I eat cake, but I never eat pastries; I don't like them. On the other hand, "so" has a different meaning that defines as showcasing the consequence of something like He was starving, so he ate all the cake.

Difference Between So and But in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison So But
Meaning So is employed to convey the second part of the first sentence's sequence. The word "but" is used to express the sentence's contradiction.
Use of When a statement has to be concluded, the speaker uses the word "so." When a speaker has to distinguish between the first and second statements, they employ the word "but."
Examples For example, I need to learn how to act, so I cannot undertake a comedy sketch. For example, I can run fast, but I don't like to.
Section of speech Coordinating conjunctions include it. Similar to how so, the word but is a component of coordinating conjunctions.
Alternative phrases and words Hence, therefore, and subsequently are different words meaning "So." However, contrary, and wherefore are other words and phrases that can be used or put in place of the word "But."

What Is "So"?

One of the seven coordinating conjunctions is "so," connecting sentences, phrases, or clauses. When one of these conjunctions is used to connect two separate phrases or clauses, a comma is always used before the conjunction. The word so is used in this example and is followed by an adverb as an adverb that may be followed by an adjective or an adverb, for example, Why are you so upset this morning? There needed to be more beds, so I slept on the floor, for example. As a conjunction, it connects two clauses or phrases and is followed by a comma.

The word "so" is quite polysemous in English. It may be employed as an adjective, adverb, conjunction, pronoun, interjection, or another word. The so covered in this article strongly resembles and would be best defined as a coordinating conjunction. However, you might argue that the sentence-initial so is an interjection. Coordinating conjunctions are frequently employed to link words, phrases, clauses, or sentences. The link is created in the sentence initial. However, it is unique since it is conceptual rather than grammatical. The connected elements are not the usual nearby words, phrases, clauses, or sentences but communication streams. Grammar purists frequently find this annoying, but linguists and lexicographers listen to this new usage of so with the analytical detachment of a scientist. We observe. We watch. We're waiting to see how much of it shows in English speakers' speeches. Will this usage pattern eventually become the norm?

Used to highlight: Used to emphasize quality, mood, or quantity

  • I'm so happy you could make it.
  • Thank you for caring for me so properly.
  • The food was terrific, but it was so expensive!
  • So many/much: He died early, as so many brilliant artists do.

Used to emphasize a fact by describing what its impact is.

  • The kids were so delighted that they had trouble sleeping.
  • So...(that): The heat from the road surface caused it to melt.
  • The property has undergone such a drastic transformation that I hardly recognize it.
  • His criticism of the work was so naive as to be unworthy of consideration.

Used to express how much someone does or how strongly they feel about something

  • She loved, enjoyed, admired, etc., so She just adored seeing the kids play.
  • Worry/suffer etc., so: You shouldn't worry so. Nothing will ever occur to us.

They are used with a negative to emphasize. The majority of young people utilize this.

  • I'm so done with that man!

Utilized as opposed to saying the same thing again

Used to bring out a possibility, truth, or circumstance that was just mentioned

  • I think/suppose/expect/hope etc., so: You're in love with Rita, aren't you? I concurred.
  • You're not going to resign, are you? No, I don't think so.
  • If you intended to depart early, you should have stated so or told someone.
  • I'm a quick learner; they tell me/so they tell me/so I comprehend. They claim, at least.
  • In such a case, will the President visit Moscow? And when, if so?
  • Is Sybil the outdoorsy type? more so/less so/very much so, "Oh sure, quite definitely."

Used to imply that anything previously stated also applies to another individual or object.

  • So, who is/does/can/will/etc. Heidi and Sylvia both intend to attend.

Used to indicate that something occurred or that someone takes action

  • according to what you just said; She thought there might have been a disaster, so she called 911.
  • He was born in India, so he also has an Indian identity card.
  • A tree had fallen across the street, so they had to turn around from the corner and go back.
  • Therefore: The window was covered so that no one could look inside.

Used to explain the motivation behind a behavior so (that): In order for no one to hear, he dropped his voice.

  • So that we can arrange our route, I'll acquire a map.
  • Foreign diplomats' spouses donned headscarves in Tehran so as (not) to anger the Iranian people.
  • The Athletics Federation has presented stricter regulations so as to prevent fraud.

Used as a conversational opening statement

Used to carry on a discussion, particularly to introduce a new topic or to begin an inquiry

  • So, let’s get down to business.
  • So, what do you recommend we do next?

Used to describe someone who creates or organizes things such that a certain outcome occurs

  • Every study program was set up so that students may work part-time while also pursuing their education.
  • The architect had so developed the rooms that every door overlooked the lake.

Used to establish a known fact before making a statement in order to demonstrate that it is unimportant

  • Okay, so the guy made a couple of blunders. That does not imply that he is a bad player.
  • utilized or expressing that an amount or amount is constrained
  • She can only moan for so long before I lose patience with her.
  • We only have so much time until the tests begin.
  • There are only so many police officers who can manage the masses.

What Is "But"?

But it is most frequently used as a conjunction to highlight an exception to a rule or to express a distinct viewpoint. It can be used to link one thought to a completely different one.

For instance:

  • Many language students find it difficult to memorize new vocabulary, but others can readily memorize new words and phrases.
  • Although the employee did all in her power to be promoted, in the end, another, the more seasoned employee was picked.
  • The bride was expected to appear at the chapel by eleven thirty, but she never arrived.
  • His parents believed he should pursue a career in medicine, but he had other ideas. He is currently a highly popular actor.

But can also be an adverb. However, this is less frequently done. But as an adverb signifies neither more nor less than.

Here are a few instances:

  • There is but one Divine.
  • Life is but a fantasy world.
  • We have orange juice, cranberry juice, apple juice, and prune juice, to name but a few.
  • If you had but told me.

When a second concept or remark differs from the first one or looks unexpected after the first one, it is used to connect the two.

  • There is still a long way to London, but we are making fantastic progress.
  • Despite Anna's great intelligence but she tends to be a bit lackadaisical.
  • A straightforward but efficient water filtration method
  • Our upcoming actions are entirely lawful. But kindly don't talk about it with anyone.

Used to introduce what is true in its place following a negative

  • His passing was a respite from agony but suffering rather than a tragedy.

Used to indicate

  • That you should stop talking about a topic you have just brought up.
  • It was a really challenging procedure. But I don't want to get into too much detail here.
  • The issue of how we will pay for this also has to be addressed, but we can talk about that later.

Used to introduce a kind query, request, or remark following phrases like "I'm sorry" and "pardon me."

  • I'm sorry, but is there a post office nearby?
  • Sorry, but all of our operators are now occupied.

Used specifically to denote "except" following words like "nothing," "everyone," or "anything."

  • All day long, she does nothing but complains.
  • I refuse to debate my medical records with anyone but Dr. Grant.
  • There is no choice but to abandon the entire strategy and begin afresh.

Main Difference Between So and But in Points

  • However, the word "but" is used when the speaker is aware that they shouldn't be talking about the subject. "So" can be used to present new information to the audience.
  • The conjunction "so" can be used to connect two phrases or clauses, as in I have a fever, so I won't play today. We are making progress slowly, but we need to work harder; this is an example of how "but" can be used to connect two sentences or clauses that contain two opposing concepts.
  • When a statement has to be concluded, the speaker uses the word "so." However, when a speaker has to distinguish between the first and second statements, they employ the word "but."
  • While "But" is used to convey the phrase that contradicts the first, "So" is used to indicate the second in the sequence of the first sentence.
  • The word "but" belongs to coordinating conjunctions. However, but is also a component of coordinating conjunctions, just as it is with so.


Whatever the case, both spoken and written English frequently uses the words "so" and "but." They frequently function as pronouns, conjunctions, adverbs, or adjectives. Some learners may become confused by them since they have somewhat similar meanings. Conjunctions that coordinate or connect two equal components. They are crucial because, when combined with a comma, they may truly join sentences together. They don't necessarily have to join whole phrases, of course. Smaller, equal parts of a sentence can also be joined together by coordinating conjunctions. To effectively use coordinating conjunctions, one must consider what it is that they are coordinating. You can decide which to use and how to punctuate using this information.


  • https://www.myenglishteacher.eu/blog/difference-between-whatever-so-but-for/
  • https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/but


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"Difference Between So and But." Diffzy.com, 2024. Mon. 13 May. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-so-and-but-1107>.

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