I made you a cake but then I ate it…

I can’t think of a single word in the English language that pisses me off more than the word “but”.

There’s no other word quite like it for sucking the positivity out of a room. No other word comes close to plucking defeat from the jaws of victory.

Just when you think you’ve cracked it, out pops the ‘b’ word and everything unravels. I’d love to help you but… I think it’s a cracking idea but… It’s one of the best meals I’ve ever had but…

Think about it. What does “but” actually do?

I’ll tell you what it does – it effectively puts a line through the words that immediately precede it, rendering them a pointless waste of time. 

The dictionary says that “but” is a conjunction used to indicate contrast. That’s far too generous.  Contrast is good – it provides clarity and makes things sharper and more visible. I think we need a new definition.

but [buht; unstressed buht]
A word used to dilute the power of the words that precede it.

7 thoughts on “I made you a cake but then I ate it…

  1. Adam kinsley says:

    An interesting blog Mr W. If only the naysayers could pause for a moment and use ‘and’ every time they are inclined to say ‘but’ they might just contribute something.

  2. I thought I was the only one that felt so passionately about this little word!!

    I’ve done my best to remove it from my vocabulary, sometimes it’s still pertinent to use, but most of the time it, as you say just destroys the preceding words, and therefore doesn’t add any value.

  3. You are not alone Claire 😉 Like you say, occasionally the script demands it. I find that one of the best ways to avoid it is to use a full stop instead. Thanks for visiting my blog!

    • Awareness is key Ian. I think lots of people use the ‘b’ word because they are unaware of the stupefying effect it can have. I have no issue with challenge – it’s just the way that the but brigade do it that grates.

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