I've noticed that, unlike native English speakers, I almost never use "yet" and always use "but" instead. This means that I don't see the difference between these two.

He was clever, but not wise.

He was clever, yet not wise.

What's the difference in meaning between the two sentences above?

How do I know when it's better to use "yet" instead of "but"?


I use yet when the contradiction seems paradoxical or odd.

"He was quiet, but friendly." (It might not be the usual thing for a quiet person to be friendly, but it's not notable.)

"He was clever, yet not wise." (We tend to assume that cleverness and wisdom are closely connected. It's strange to see one without the other.)

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