Monday, March 15, 2010


I like you a lot BUT.....
I think you are really hardworking BUT....
I think we played really well BUT...
He is intelligent,smart,handsome BUT .....

If you see all the sentences written above they start positively but "BUT" spoils them all.
But has a unique capability of nullifying the former part of the string.
Recently i read two books which just hated the word "BUT".
They were so against "BUT" that they implored the readers to never use the word in their conversations.

You are debating a person and in the counter argument say that ...
"I totally agree to what you said BUT....."

The moment you say BUT the earlier person's point of view is finshed and now it's all you.

"BUT" increases the friction,it is resistance to an opinion.

Now just replace the BUT with the word AND....

I like you a lot and.....
I think you are really hardworking and....
I think we played really well and...
He is intelligent,smart,handsome and.....

Just by replacing the BUT with AND we have changed resistance to acceptance.
Now we are not opposing a view but we are providing an extension to the earlier view.
You are in a discussion and in the counter argument you say that...

I totally agree to what you said AND .....

Try and use AND in your daily conversation ...and see your point's acceptance level going up.
You'll also feel that people now seem to listen to your point as they feel it to be a natural extension to there point.

This state leaves you in a state where you have the leverage to  get your point across ...better.
The chances are much more higher than they would have been after a BUT.

PS: I have added a few examples in the comments section and i would love it if you could come up with some real innovative ones.


Gaurav Vashist said...

I Like you a lot but don't think i can continue with you ...

or you can rephrase it as

I like you a lot and that's why i think we should not continue with this relation as this might hurt you in future.

I think the boys played really well but it was our bad luck that we didn't win...


I think the boys played really well and if we get some luck going with us,we can definitely win the next match.

You are really hardworking but i can't give you the promotion this year.May be next year but this year


You are really hardworking and if you continue your good work for one more year you may get a good promotion next year.

Rookie said...

I don't like cricket, and i like Sachin.
Thats funny. It is no way an extension to former part.

The point being, both are connectives with their own importance, and it should be people who should use them judiciously, rather than make a direct replacement.

And your example reflect only negative effects, what about the positive points that "but" can make.

Say example -
Your paper wasn't good, but one part of it was amazing.

neeraj said...

what if you rephrase the sentence using the negative part first. eg.

"it was our bad luck that we didn't win but the boys played really well"

"i cant give you promotion this year but you are really hardworking which will pay."

i liked the part about "but" but i liked the other part even more.

Gaurav Vashist said...

This is fun....I mean i should have given it a bit more thought before publishing this one....

Still i'll try to put up a line of defence ..(Although a weak one but still.. )

@Rookie - "Your paper wasn't good, but one part of it was amazing."

I think but is nullifying the former part over here also and it pacifies the effect of the former part of the sentence,...and that's what i suggested.

BTW rookie stop being a like cricket..and you like sachin as well.

That is a natural extension.The assumption is not true when you are lying. :P

@neeraj bhaiya-Quite a neat reversal ,very valid point and i think it's the way you use the connectors that is going to determine the effectiveness of the sentence.

Gaurav Vashist said...

@All -
I'm priviliged to have some real non-conformist readers on my list and that is a boon as it gives me a chance to see some other view point that i might have missed while writing.

Gaurav Vashist said...

@rookie/neeraj bhaiya --- hmm after giving your comments a thought...i have come up with a new theory...

I said but neagtes everything.Now if we want to have a positive impact at the end of our sentence we have to do this....

if you are having the negative part as the former sentence BUT will negate it and the overall sentence will become positive.(Not(false)=true)

If you are having a positive first sentence BUT will negate it and ruin all the positivity.(not(true)=false)

So if you are starting with a negative sentence ...use but to positivize it.

If you are starting with a positive sentence ..use AND to extend the positivity.


Abhishek Tondon said...

No comments :P

Shamail said...

Gaurav you are an excellent writer, BUT... (please append accordingly) ;-) haha!

Gaurav Vashist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rookie said...

sometimes lying does get the point across :P

neeraj said...

is it really what we speak which matters or what the listener comprehends?

a critical comment is a positive sentence or negative ?

what determines the positivity of a sentence ?
the intention of the speaker or how the listener takes it.

how will you take the criticism? will the positivity or negativity of criticism vary depending upon who is criticising?

Gaurav Vashist said...

Q)Is it really what we speak which matters or what the listener comprehends?
A)I think a speaker is successful only if the listener comprehends what he wants him to comprehend.If the listener is comprehending something else than i think that is ineffective communication skills.

Q)A critical comment is a positive sentence or negative ?
A)Critical sentence can be can be the confidence breaker also and it can be taken as a challenge also.It depends on a particular human being,on how does he receive the criticism.

Q)What determines the positivity of a sentence ?
The intention of the speaker or how the listener takes it.
A) Both....I think in different cases either can determine the positivity of the sentence.

Q)how will you take the criticism?
A) I'll take it rationally.If criticism is rational..i'll give it a thought...but if it is cursory ,i'll prefer ignoring it.

Q)will the positivity or negativity of criticism vary depending upon who is criticising?
A)If i say no...i'll be lying.I think yes.

BTW What are we discussing...i think kuch offtrack ho gayi discussion.

Let me summarise it...
I think we need to keep the listener in a receptive state and we don't have to antagonize him at any stage of the discussion.

That's where BUT and AND come in the picture.

neeraj said...

it may seem offtrack but you replied well.

actually you posted that positivity and negativity of sentence depends upon these connectors "but" and "and" they can decrease or increase it.

i was of the notion that ultimately its the intention of the speaker.

in fact before this post i have never ever paid attention to the "buts" and "ands" as a listener. i would also rather avoid to pay them much heed as a litener but i would definately be cautious as a speaker from now.

coming back to relevance of the questions, your replies are also suggesting that you are also looking for the intention rather than counting the connectors.

anyway the point has been taken.

Rajkarn said...

A quite wonderful discussion. We've got a lot of thinks to ponder upon. As in my comments :P, since I'm still grasping the depths of this discussion.. :)

Gaurav Vashist said...

A beautiful example of the infinite power of BUT.

One of my very close friends had put this status on gtalk...

"On a visit to the NASA space center, President Kennedy spoke to a man sweeping up in one of the buildings. "What's your job here?" asked Kennedy. "Well Mr. President," the janitor replied, "I'm helping to put a man on the moon". "

This is the conversation that followed.....

Me: great one .that's called coherent vision for a purpose.Everyone inline to the vision .good one.

Friend: yes ,its beautiful,the greater question is what do we think until we see the answer

Me: yup

Friend: the beautiful essence is all life and work is meaningful

Me: hmmm.....i interpreted a bit differently.I thnk in any organisation your vision statement should be so powerful that the sweeper also feels that he is contributing to the vision...everyone excited.I think this is an example of an organization where everyone knows where they are going.

Friend: tht is true BUT to me the individual goal and viewpoint is what is more exciting since that helps us bind together towards a goal rather than an organization always being present to bind individuals towards a goal.

Now just analyse the power of but....
does my friend really agree with me.

does "tht is true" is true enough?

Thanks friend....

Arjun B S said...

here's what I felt: there's a hundred instances that can be shown where using 'and' like you suggest can sound funny, and not apt. But i get where you're approaching this problem. From the paradigm of accepting people's opinions. So, it's not really what you say, but (AND?) the music you play :-)

Good one! Support you thoughts on this!

Gaurav Vashist said...

Yup Arjun...i believe that this is in no way a generalized rule to always use but instead of can always try it in your daily discussions ...i have been using it for some works.