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"Butts created a few sets himself, but the first manufacturers who inspected them did not think that the game was likely to become very popular."

Got confused by the answer choices provided for a test: One was the sentence above, and the other one was the same sentence with "however" instead:

"Butts created a few sets himself; however, the first manufacturers who inspected them did not think that the game was likely to become very popular."

According to the answers to the test, the "but" version turns out to be right.

I'd like to know whether the test was faulty or there is some rule I've never heard of to justify this choice.

  • Please edit your question to add in references/citations to your quotes, as required by the SE attribution policy. You may also need to know about the site policy on "homework questions" -- which applies to questions asking about school tests, whether or not you were actually taking that test yourself. – Andrew Leach Apr 9 '17 at 11:30
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In my understanding of the context, BUT and However are different in following way:

The question in test,

Butts created a few sets himself, BUT the first manufacturers who inspected them did not think that the game was likely to become very popular.

Here intention of creating few sets (main action) was likely to become popular but it wasn't going to succeed in views of first inspector. Meaning the objective was going to fail because he didn't do it well. Here reason for not being popular lies in the main action.

Second option

Butts created a few sets himself, HOWEVER the first manufacturers who inspected them did not think that the game was likely to become very popular.

Here despite Butts creating few sets himself, the game wasn't going to be popular, meaning there were variables other than main action for it to become popular that were lacking or missing.

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I don't think you should trust that test at all. Clearly there are differences between 'but' and 'however' or they wouldn't need the different punctuation shown, but that doesn't give them significantly different meanings, nor make one more correct in the example.

Although the same Butts-created-Scrabble passage pops up no few times in search engines, the instances I found had rather different questions and none mentioned 'however'.

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