She has an ideal life and family. There's only one problem: she wants to run away from home. (But) after talking with her friend, she postpones the idea and come back to her parents.

A native English speaker told me I don't need the but. But without the but the sentence sounds strange to me. It sounds as if the last part, "...after talking with her friend...", it's unrelated to the previous sentences; it's just an event that follows after.

Maybe I'm wrong?

  • 3
    Being a non-native speaker, I would prefer to put 'But' for clearer meaning-in-context. Here, 'but' acts as a connector.
    – Rucheer M
    Oct 26, 2015 at 7:40
  • Replace with However? However, without the but, the sentence sounds
    – Mamta D
    Oct 26, 2015 at 9:11
  • She has an ideal life and family, but there's only one problem; she wants to run away from home. After talking with her friend however, she postpones the idea and goes back to her parents.
    – Joe Dark
    Oct 26, 2015 at 9:40
  • @Mamta D You mean the sentence sounds better by replacing but with however? Interesting. Why?
    – wyc
    Oct 26, 2015 at 10:30
  • 1
    @MamtaD - Not starting a sentence with but? That sounds like grade-school advice. There's nothing wrong with starting a sentence with but (plenty of accomplished and reputable writers have done so), as long as it's not overused. More on ELU here and here, and on the web here and here.
    – J.R.
    Oct 26, 2015 at 15:25

2 Answers 2


I agree with many of the comments which suggested the use of "however." "However" shows the contrast you want to use. While it is becoming more common to start sentences with the word "But," the strictest grammar lovers (including myself) do not embrace it. You do have some other unbalanced tenses in your sentences, though. If you are interested, I show you one way to correct them below...

She had an ideal life and family. There was only one problem: she wanted to run away from home. However, after talking with her friend, she postponed the idea and went back to her parents.

  • I guess I'm not among the "strictest grammar lovers." Neither were London, Dickens, Melville, Rand, Sinclair, Bronte, Huxley, or Fitzgerald, apparently. (This is worth reading, too.) The issue here should not be whether however should be used in place of but; rather, it should be about whether any conjunct is needed at all.
    – J.R.
    Oct 26, 2015 at 15:27
  • @KittyConsltant Thanks for the answer. I'm curious, why did you turn the passage to the past tense?
    – wyc
    Oct 26, 2015 at 16:46

I would probably use though, like this:

She has an ideal life and family. There's only one problem: she wants to run away from home. After talking with her friend, though, she postpones the idea and comes back to her parents.

As a side note, postpones implies her restless feelings are only gone temporarily, and that she'll want to leave home again soon. If that's not what you want to convey, try using drops instead of postpones.

  • 1
    ♦ I'm curious, why do you prefer though instead of but? The original phrase: "But after learning about the curious death of her chihuahua, she postpones the idea..." is longer so that's why I chose but instead.
    – wyc
    Oct 27, 2015 at 2:40
  • 1
    @alex - I'm not sure I can explain why I "prefer" it – or if I even do. You said that the "but" sounded strange to you, so I was offering another way to say the sentence without the but.
    – J.R.
    Oct 27, 2015 at 9:22

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