How to structure “however” and “but” sentence in Chinese

“However” and “but” in most cases can be directly translated into the following Chinese words.

however = 然而 rán’ér

but = 但是 dàn shì

Replacing “however” and “but” with the above words in your sentence should serve its purpose. Let’s move along then you’ll see how to structure this kind of sentences.

Please go through your new vocabulary drill first. 🙂

rán’ér dàn shì kě shì
[hanzi]然而[/hanzi] [hanzi]但是[/hanzi] [hanzi]可是[/hanzi]
however but but
bù guò xǐ huan jiàn
[hanzi]不过[/hanzi] [hanzi]喜欢[/hanzi] [hanzi][/hanzi]
but like quantifier
qún zi mǎi zhī chí
[hanzi]裙子[/hanzi] [hanzi][/hanzi] [hanzi]支持[/hanzi]
skirt  buy zhi chi
dú lì


Done? Good, let’s learn them from examples:

I like this skirt, but I can’t buy it.

wǒ xǐhuan zhè jiàn qúnzi, dànshì wǒ bùnéng mǎi tā.



They will support us. However, we should learn to be independent.

tāmen zhīchí wǒmen. rán’ér, wǒmen yīnggāi xuéhuì dúlì.



You’ll never need to reassemble the word order in the sentence due to adding “but” or “however” to your sentence. Just directly add 然而 rán’ér, or 但是 dàn shì to the beginning of the main sentence or the sub sentence. You can add a comma right after 然而 rán’ér or 但是 dàn shì to give a graceful break to your sentence. Or add them without comma.

Other than 然而 rán’ér or 但是 dàn shì可是 kě shì and 不过 can be used as the same meaning and in the same way. In fact, all four words are very similiar:

然而 rán’ér但是 dàn shì可是 kě shì不过 dàn shì

The only difference is “然而 rán’ér” is mostly used in writing, not speaking. The other three can be used both in writing and speaking.

Are you clear now? I don’t think it’ll be too difficult to come up some sentences to practice in this regards. So go ahead practice in your own way until the four words (at least two, OK?) can come to your lips easily whenever you need them.

Welcome to have my face to face lesson on  !  🙂


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