I've been seeing nonetheless used next to but. For example:

"... smaller but nonetheless important research programs." (From Merriam Webster).

There are possible risks, but nonetheless, we feel it’s a sound investment. (from Cambridge Dictionary)

My understanding is that "but" and "nonetheless" are synonymous and mean the same thing, although I'm not quite sure they mean the same thing in the above sentences.

Does the following example work?

She is sad but nonetheless beautiful

How do I analyse the above sentences, please? Do "but" and "nonetheless" have different meanings in these sentences? I would also appreciate if someone told me how I would punctuate sentences having "but" and "nonetheless" used like that.

1 Answer 1


The words but and nonetheless are not synonymous. They are used differently.

But marks the contrast.
Nonetheless says even so

So you are saying in effect: Even though she is sad, she is beautiful.

There are two similar ways of constructing this idea.

She is sad; nonetheless, she is beautiful.
She is sad but nonetheless beautiful.

The first is equivalent to:

She is sad; even so she is beautiful.

and the second:

She is sad but no less beautiful (than when she is not sad).

So, yes, depending on the construction, but and nonetheless can work together.

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