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But, However, Though

Reviewing John Humphrys's book on language and its misuse (Lost for Words: The Mangling and Manipulating of the English Language) in 2007 I questioned his dislike of "however" and his preference for "but". But in fact I've now come to much the same conclusion myself and generally avoid using "however" in this way. Humphrys and I are in a minority, of course. The copy editor at a publisher to whom I sent a book chapter recently replaced my "buts" with "howevers" all over the place. I let it go rather than have an argument.

Something I dislike more than "however" is "though". In my sentence above I could have written: "In fact, though, I've come to much the same conclusion myself ...". This usage is quite common these days but is not for me.


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