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.