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What words in french has a meaning of "but".

I know that there are numerous french words that all convey the same meaning (which is "but"), but I always get confused with which one I should use. I normally use "mais", but also use "a cause de". Can anyone tell me some words, and when to use them?

March 30, 2020



"à cause de" is not really "but". It is more like "due to".

Je ne peux pas aller travailler à cause du coronavirus. "I cannot go to work on account of the corona virus."

Usually when we say "but" the French say "mais." In some instances when we say "but" the French say, malgré que, néanmois, or cependant.

e.g., Corée du Sud a cependant montré qu'il y a une meillure voie... (South Korea has shown that there is a better way...)


Attention malgré que est très courant mais est incorrect. Malgré est suivi d'un nom, bien que peut être suivi d'un verbe.


Bon, et l'autre exemple avec Corée du Sud? Est-il correcte?


... à quelques détails près, oui:
La Corée du Sud a cependant montré qu'il y a une meilleure voie.


Ah, oui. c'est clair. Merci.


Anyone want to translate into English Jojo553168's post for those of us not advanced enough in French to fully grasp it? Merci!


I was just pointing out a few (common) mistakes in Angus390025's answer (malgré que being not really correct) Sorry, I knew Angus had a very good level in french, so...


He was just telling me that although I might read "malgré que" from time to time, it is not correct. (fashionably incorrect, we might say) Malgré should be followed by a noun. La vie économique, malgré la déclin, continue.

The other bit was related to my horrible spelling, which is the case in English as well. I really should be more careful to check my writing.

edit: I see that Jojo has already answered the question :)


It's just that I am not not far along in my French studies to fully understand your response. And possibly the OP who has a streak of 2 and is asking in English.


I normally use "mais", but also use "a cause de".

à cause de because of, due to

But mais (néanmoins, par contre)

      I'd suggest the use of a dictionary. ☺


Mai est le meilleur mois pour peut-être le nuage de coronavirus passera, mais c'est mars.


For meanings such as 'however' and 'although', I think some possibilities are 'pourtant', 'cependant', and 'par contre'. Perhaps a native French speaker can clarify the differences of meaning for these French words/phrases. I have never understood well their differences of meaning.


Pierre adore la cuisine italienne, pourtant aujourd'hui il préfère le restaurant libanais.
Pierre adore la cuisine italienne, cependant il fait toujours attention à sa ligne.
Pierre adore la cuisine italienne, par contre il déteste le cinéma italien.

(I could have used mais in all these sentences.)


I'd be tempted to put a comma after "par contre" in the last sentence (and a semicolon before it), but I do know that in French the rules of punctuation are very different than in English. Maybe it is not necessary, or even correct, in that example.

(Peter adores Italian cooking; on the other hand, he detests Italian film.)


I don't think the comma is really missing.


Merci beaucoup, Jojo


Here is my understanding of each of these:

mais = but <-- despite that I like cooked eggs, BUT despite that I won't eat them sunny side up.

cependant = however <-- seems to indicate some unseen force or conditionality holding back I like eggs, however I only eat them well cooked.

pourtant = however, yet <-- seems less forceful and maybe more persistent or something to do with time I like cooked eggs, yet I don't eat them often.

par contre = on the other hand <-- doesn't show opposition, just an alternative Some people like cooked meats, on the other hand many like sushi.

Do these descriptions ring true for French people?


What does this mean? <<... il fait toujours attention à sa ligne. >

Google translates it verbatim..something about his weight or shape?


Yes exactly, in this sentence 'sa ligne' refers to one's shape consequently paying attention to one's appetite, or reducing desserts.


Brilliant, thanks!


We just say "mais"


Or is another French word meaning "but". Here is an example from WordReference:

Il voulait que je lui raconte tout. Or, je ne savais rien.

He wanted me to tell him everything, but I knew nothing


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