English Use Of "BUT" At the End of A Sentence

I’ve been watching some Brit-Coms and I noticed a few characters, usually the uneducated ones, speak and use the word “but” at the end of a sentence.

Such as, “I don’t mind looking at TV but.”

It’s like the word but is synonymous with the word though

Is this common in English speech? Or is it a dialect or a region that uses that?

I don’t know. I don’t watch Britcoms. Some here consider them funny. I find them anything but.

First post threadshit! Nice one.

There’s a usage (that I’ve heard mostly in Northern Ireland and Scotland) of putting “but” on the end of a sentence to mean “though”. E.g. “I don’t like her. She’s all right looking, but.”

The other theory is that the script has the “but” trailing off. “I don’t mind looking at TV but…” implying there’s something else to be said, that isn’t being said. Perhaps the actor has delivered the line badly.

Could be that the other actors were supposed to interrupt, but didn’t deliver the interrupting line quick enough

Never heard it deliberately used at the end of a sentence. There are dialects that use strange words at the end of sentences like that - inner London accents use still, as in “I don’t mind watching TV still” and northern accents use like, as in “I don’t mind watching TV like” - but not but. You sure they’re not just trailing off halfway through the sentence?

I’ve heard it in Australian soaps broadcast in Britain. I’ve been known to use it myself for (hopefully) comic effect. The Australian usage definitely doesn’t trail off, “but” brings a sentence to a close as an intensifier. Racking my brains for an example but.

Here you go, from the Oxford English Dictionary:

I don’t think it’s common in English speech. You hear it a lot in the Glasgow area, though, used just as per the cite that jjimm provided.

It’s not ‘but.’ but ‘but…’ - the sentence trails off. As in, “I know that one is presumed innocent until found guilty but…”


(Bolding mine.)

I missed that sentence at first as well.

That’s how I use it too, but I’m American. The OED describes this as an Aussie/Scottish thing, so it may be different (though probably related).

It’s usually when I would otherwise repeat myself. “I just don’t like her. She’s nice enough, but… (I just don’t like her).” Or as above, when what would follow the “but” is immediately obvious.

I am American and I use ‘but’ at the end of a sentence, and not in a trailing-off kind of way.

Dave Lister: I used to be fourth-rate scum - I’ve pulled myself up by my bootstraps, but.

Mine was simply an illustration of an appropriate use of ‘but’ at the end of a sentence. :wink:

I (American) use it for trailing off.

OP might find this interesting: In German, sometimes they end their sentences with oder (or) instead of illustrating another option. Donno why; for me it’s kind of a trailing off thing like ‘but.’ For example:

Are you ready to go or?
Do you want to go to the movies or?

I’ve yet to hear it so used in this corner of Scotland.

It isn’t used in London or Southern England. When I’ve heard it used it’s by Aussies, Scots, or sometimes people from the North of England.

I’ve never heard it used in Scotland. Scottish people use “like” in that way, but I’ve never heard “but”. Anyone have an example?

It’s a west/central Scotland thing. It’s very common there. (You’re in Aberdeen, if I remember correctly?)