I'm in doubt because I don't know what's the difference between "But...None/nevertheless" and just the Nonetheless/Nevertheless itself.


He is busy.Nevertheless, he still calls me.

That is an example I've found on the internet. But what would the difference be if I used the expression "but nevertheless" instead?

He's always busy. But nevertheless, he still calls me.

What are the difference between these 2 sentences? And, what are the differences between "but never/nonetheless" and just those adverbs itself?

1 Answer 1


Some people will claim that nonetheless is used when talking about an amount of something - but I side with those (highly knowledgeable, imho) commenters disagreeing with that assertion on ELU.

Putting that aside, but nevertheless is effectively tautologous, in that either word could be discarded without affecting the meaning at all (but nevertheless, that particular two-word collocation is perfectly common and "natural").

In short, it makes no real difference whether you use nonetheless or nevertheless, OR whether you precede your chosen form by but. In the context of OP's example, all such permutations are precisely equivalent to Although he's busy, he still calls.

It's probably worth explicitly pointing that although the three-word form none the less does exist, and has a somewhat different sense1 to the single-word form, there's no equivalent three-word form never the less in "normal" English. Also note that nonetheless has only recently risen to prominence (and it's still much less common than nevertheless, so my advice would be to stick with the latter).

1 From comments under the ELU question linked to by my first sentence above...

Jim (citing example attempting to prove that nevertheless and nonetheless are different)
Julius II loved him nonetheless for it... means Julius didn't love him any less because of it

Colin Fine (shooting that example down)
Ah. I see the problem. That is not the word nonetheless: it is the phrase none the less. To see the difference, consider Julius did not love him any the less. There is no word anytheless.

  • Does it matter what any given user on this site claims regarding usage? What matters is actual usage. If people use a word to mean something, then it means that something. I couldn't care less how "Jim" personally feels about the subject.
    – user428517
    Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 17:47
  • @ApologizeandreinstateMonica: Of course it matters! Not wishing to slag anyone off, it seems likely to me that many of the people proposing / upvoting that false distinction don't normally use either form themselves. They just see what looks at first glance to be a convincing rationale, so they go along with it. I think you'd find few if any instances of published authors in Google Books making any such distinction. It's on a par with thinking you can't end a sentence with a preposition, or supposing that only one of ripe / rife with opportunity is "correct". Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 17:55
  • (But I quite agree that as a general principle, Humpty Dumpty was quite right when he said Words mean what I want them to mean. If a grammarian disagrees with what people actually say/mean, it's pretty much axiomatic that they're right and he's wrong.) Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 18:00
  • You are using a lot of words to not say very much. Like I said, one person's opinion doesn't matter. Usage matters.
    – user428517
    Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 18:33
  • I think I've made my position abundantly clear. You, on the other hand, haven't even explicitly stated whether you personally accept that supposed distinction (and more crucially, whether you've always recognised it, or just read and been convinced by someone else's "logical deconstruction" as a result of this question being posed). Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 18:47

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