But is more informal than however. You can use however at the beginning of a sentence. You can't use but at the beginning of a sentence in written English.
- I can understand Italian but I can't speak it very well.
- I can understand Italian. However, I can't speak it very well.
Despite v In spite of
These linking words are the same. They are followed by a noun or a gerund.
- We had a great time despite the rain.
- In spite of leaving school at 16 without any qualifications, he went on to have a successful career.
Despite the fact that v In spite of the fact that
These phrases are followed by a subject + verb.
- We had a great time despite the fact that it rained all weekend.
- He has a successful career, in spite of the fact that he has no qualifications.
Although v Even though
These linking words are the same. They are both followed by a subject + verb.
- She's rather shy, although she's not as bad as she used to be.
- Even though I was invited to the party, I didn't go.
This linking word, when found in the middle of two phrases, has a meaning similar to but. It has a meaning similar to despite this when placed at the end (in spoken English).
- They are coming next week, though I don't know which day.
- I felt sick. I went to work though.
While v Whereas v Unlike
These linking words are used to show how two things are different from each other. While and whereas are used between two complete phrases. Unlike is used with only a subject.
- Dave is talkative while his girlfriend is very quiet.
- In that picture he is smiling whereas in this one he look quite serious.
- Unlike me, my brother excels in sport.
On the other hand
This linker is used to compare two different facts or two opposite ways of thinking about the same situation.
- On (the) one hand I'd like a job that pays more, but on the other hand I am quite happy with the job I have now.
- I like classical music, but on the other hand, my boyfriend loves jazz.
Nevertheless v Nonetheless
These linkers mean the same, though nevertheless is slightly formal. They are used to contradict what has just been said.
- She didn't love him, but she nevertheless agreed to marry him.
- I already knew a lot of what was said, but the class was fun nonetheless.
This linker is used to say something surprising that contradics what has just been said.
- He's overweight and bald, yet somehow, he is attractive.
- He studied a lot, yet he didn't pass the exam.
Complete the following sentences in a suitable way:
The Spanish, unlike the Italians, …
I haven’t had much time to study, nevertheless …
I like living in Spain, in spite of the fact that …
The film won many awards despite …
He’s going to work abroad although …
On one hand my boss can be very understanding, but on the other hand …
You can’t afford to go away for the weekend, yet …
I go to the gym three times a week but …
In Madrid they … whereas in Barcelona they …
He went to the pub with his friends even though …
People in their 40s … while people in their 20s …
The government promised to … However, …
…, but I went nonetheless.
..., in spite of the noise.
We're going to try our best though ...