不過 bat1 gwo3 vs 但係 daan6 hai6

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As a conjunction, 不過 bat1 gwo3 and 但係 daan6 hai6 both mean “but”.

Both are placed either:

  1. At the beginning of a sentence,
  2. At the beginning of the second clause of a compound sentence (with or without a pause).

[box type=”alert” size=”large” border=”full”]但係 daan6 hai6 is used only in Cantonese; 不過 bat1 gwo3 can be used in both Cantonese and Standard Chinese.[/box]

However

但係 daan6 hai6 tends to give more emphasis to the second clause that follows.

[avia_table]

He (has) Already Eaten Breakfast But Still Is Hungry
keoi5 ji5 ging1 sik6 zo2 zou2 caan1 daan6 hai6 zung6 hou2 tou5 ngo6
已經 食咗 早餐 但係 肚餓

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不過 bat1 gwo3 tends to supplement the contrasting words that have been said in the first clause.

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He By Girlfriend Dumped But He No Sad
keoi5 bei2 neoi5 pang4 jau5 fei1 zo2 bat1 gwo3 keoi5 mou5 m4 hoi1 sam1
女朋友 飛咗 不過 唔開心

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Although… Yet…

但係 daan6 hai6 is sometimes used together with another conjunction, 雖然 seoi1 jin4 which is placed at the head of the first clause.

In such case, “雖然 seoi1 jin4但係 daan6 hai6” means “although … yet”. 不過 bat1 gwo3 cannot be used together with another conjunction.

[avia_table]

Although I like iPhone Yet I don’t have money to buy
seoi1 jin4 ngo5 zung1 ji3 iPhone daan6 hai6 ngo5 mou5 cin2 maai5
雖然 我鍾意iPhone 但係 我冇錢買

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