I learned that you can use でも (demo) at the beginning of a sentence to mean "but," and that you can use けど (kedo) at the end of a sentence to mean "though." However, I don't see a difference between these two.

For example, suppose someone says this:

  • あした かいもの に いきましょう. Ashita kaimono ni ikimashō. "Let's go shopping tomorrow."

Would there be any difference in these two responses?

  • でも あした は やすみ です. Demo ashita wa yasumi desu. "But tomorrow is a holiday."
  • あした は やすみ です けど. Ashita wa yasumi desu kedo. "Tomorrow is a holiday though."

To me, these two responses seem to have the exact same meaning. So my question is this: Are there are any differences between でも (demo) and けど (kedo)? It seems like the placement of the "but" (でも at the beginning and けど at the end) could change the emphasis. Is that true? If so, how?

Also, are there any situations when you can use one but not the other?


4 Answers 4


でも and けど are both "but". However, けど links a second clause - which may or may not be actually said out loud.

So, when you are saying "あした は やすみ です けど." you are actually saying something more like:

"Tomorrow is a holiday (but), so we can't go to the store"

but dropping the "obvious" bit of the sentence.


Another very important usage of this - at least heavily used here in Kansai - is to "soften" your statement when you make an assertion about something, so as to not appear too strong. It works with the same idea:

"I'd like to go けど"  ... "I'd like to go (but I won't if that causes difficulty for someone)"

You'll hear this ALL the time! It's a nice little "early step" in your Japanese, to be a bit more Japanese-sounding.

  • 1
    Truthful as this answer may be, it doesn't actually answer the question at all. In fact OP seems already aware of this usage of けど.
    – lynn
    May 6, 2019 at 13:50
  • How about the use of ”~んです”?明日は休みなんです。Is this a similar use case?
    – jacob
    May 2, 2020 at 1:47

I think you are correct: the meaning of your 2 example sentences is the same. But to me the nuance feels a little different between the two. Whereas "でも あした は やすみ です." feels like a simple statement of fact, "あした は やすみ です けど." feels like there is an expectation that the first speaker should have known that tomorrow is a holiday.

I can't think of any situations when you could use one and not the other.


I'm not Japanese, but I'm Asian and where I am from, we share the same or almost the same sort of colloquial idiosyncracy when it comes to what we term in English as a "hanging sentence".

Both JMadsen and Samurai Soul are correct. It is the intention of the speaker who uses "kedo" to "softly" put forth an opposing idea as a response to another statement. It's "soft" in a way as being polite and not too forward about it as it allows the other speaker to "sort the logic out" in the "kedo" sentence by him/herself.

Culturally, Asians are naught to putting up very forward or strongly opposing replies to queries not emanating from a business standpoint. Meaning in everyday, common but polite or semi polite conversations among friends, relatives or acquaintances, "kedo" would offer a very good nuance to a smooth conversation. But depending on how one stresses the "kedo" sentence, it also adds more "color" to the inward intention of the speaker just like in English.

An emphatic "kedo" or "demo" might allow a further query or worse, an argument to ensue.


Actually, けど means "although"; not "but", that is why it finishes a sentence. けどis usually translted as "but" because it is more common to say but in English while no one tells you that the actual meaning is "although". Now you can make perfect sense of the word.

でも literally mens "but", on the other hand.

It is the problem with most Japanese courses, they never tell you what words really mean leaving you confused and not allwing you to understand the way Japanese people see and express the world around them.

  • 2
    I can't see any relevant distinction between but and although that would make this answer make sense.
    – user1478
    Jul 12, 2018 at 1:20
  • 1
    In theory both words are very similar in meaning, however, not telling learners of Japanese the actual meaning of けど and just traslate it as "but" brings confusion because けど, just like the English word "athough" conditions the first cle/senntence where as "but" conditions the second clause/sentence.
    – Grau C
    Jul 16, 2018 at 19:21
  • 2
    その本が読みましたけど、忘れてしまった。- Even though I read that book I forgot about it. If you simply translate けど as "but" a learner of Japanese will proceed to translate the sentence as "but I read that book..." It doesn't make sense and you cannot connect that sentence with the next one. That's how the thought process of beginners is confused if you don't teach Japanese properly.
    – Grau C
    Jul 16, 2018 at 19:38
  • I don't really understand how one can proceed to translate the sentence as "but I read that book..." One can probably translate it as "but I forgot about it." That is, "I read that book, but I forgot about it" in place of "Although I read that book, I forgot about it." Which makes not much difference to me. And no, English is not my native language. Can you possibly come up with a better example?
    – yk7
    Jun 15, 2021 at 17:24
  • "Although" is a subordinating conjunction, while "but" is not. The equivalent of subordinating conjunctions in Japanese are clause-final conjunctions like けど, so "although" would be the more natural translation with respect to the structure of the sentence.
    – user55600
    Jan 29, 2023 at 11:38

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