But Yet: Pick a Coordinating Conjunction, Any Coordinating Conjunction

Colin Cowherd Radio Show, January 22, 2008, talking about Tony Dungy: His family lives in Tampa, but yet Tony Dungy is part of a family….    

I have to admit that I didn’t actually hear the rest of the sentence. Once I heard but yet, he lost me, and all I could think was Why do so many people say but yet 

When using both but and yet as coordinating conjunctions, you can only use one (otherwise, you’re creating a redundancy for the category of the redundancy category). The same thing goes for and yet when using both as coordinating conjunctions.

Use either but or yet when conveying two ideas that are in contrast, thus separating them. Tony Dungy’s family lives in Tampa, but he’s part of a family in Indianapolis or Tony Dungy’s family lives in Tampa, yet he’s part of a family in Indianapolis.

Use and when connecting two ideas. The example about Tony Dungy is not an appropriate place for the use of and because the clause before the comma and the clause after the comma are a contrast, not a similarity. A better example would be Tony Dungy’s family lives in Tampa, and Tony Dungy lives in Tampa—not a very attractive sentence but a good illustration nonetheless.

Don’t use and and yet together when both are being used as coordinating conjunctions because they convey opposite ideas. As a coordinating conjunction, yet means nevertheless or however, and and conveys a meaning of in addition.

I know, I know, someone out there is saying, But wait (or But yet wait); what about Shakespeare? He used but yet. Well, no offense to the bard, but Shakespeare was a famed poet and playwright—not a famed grammarian.

Sherry

Paul’s book–Literally, the Best Language Book Ever and Sherry’s Grammar List

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