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Pachter's Pointers:
Business Etiquette Tips & Career Suggestions


7.21.2010

Avoid the Use of the Word “But,” But…

We discuss the use of the word “but” in my assertive classes. For many people “but” can be a red flag. When they hear it, they stop listening. For example, if a boss said to someone, “You did a nice job but…” the employee knows that what follows won't be complimentary. The use of the word “but” implies that bad news is coming. It’s generally more effective to use the word “and.” You did a nice job and it would be more effective if….

Last week during the discussion a sales representative jumped in and excitedly asked, “But, but, but, aren’t there times you want to use “but”?

After the class stopped laughing, I responded that she was right. There are times you may choose to use “but,” especially if you want to contradict something—which she just did. An example would be, “I usually don’t participate in the meetings, but there are times that I add my input.”

If you're aware of your word choice when using "but," you're more likely to use it appropriately.

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