The Power of "And"

I forget where I picked this up, but a few years ago someone suggested dropping the word ‘but’ from most of my conversations.

Here’s why. We’ve all been in the situation where someone pulls us aside and tells us two or three encouraging and positive things. “Hey, I really love your work on the project and I’ve seen how many hours you’ve put in…” And something inside of us really can’t hear it because we are waiting for the ‘but’ that we suspect is coming. And often it is. “….but I’ve got one concern.”

For me, the ‘but’ undoes all the good I’ve already heard. I get transfixed by it. In all likelihood, so do you.

So instead of saying “but”, try saying “and” more often. Listen to the difference. “Hey I really love your work on the project and I’ve seen how many hours you’ve put in. Thank you. And I’ve really only got one concern.”

Do you hear the difference?

You did a great job taking out the trash, and there’s only one thing left to do.

I loved the meal tonight!  Thank you.  And next time I wonder if we changed this one thing I think it might even taste better.

I loved your message on Sunday.  Really spoke to me.  And I was wondering….

One little word.  Big difference.

What do you think?


  1. Brodie on March 24, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Excellent! Wow, we are often reminded to start with a couple of positives prior to addressing an aspect that needs to be worked on, and now you are suggesting HOW we might address it. You are so right about the “but” overriding the good things said prior.

    Hey Carey, I love your blogs, I look forward to your tweets, AND maybe you should write a book!
    Love your positive approach to everything!

  2. Sean on March 24, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    That is the stuff the world need to hear. I have never really considered using “and” instead of “but” before, but….. (I mean “and”) it really does change how people receive the same information. Very inspiring blog “AND” keep it up!

    • Carey on March 24, 2011 at 5:50 pm

      Thanks Sean and Katharyn!

      I don’t know about the KJV. Interesting twist!

  3. Katharyn on March 24, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Hey, I love the idea! It’s empowering both to the speaker and to the listener. You’re right, a ‘but’ shuts off all the earlier statements. When I was a teen, our youth pastor took us thru many bible passages & showed us how orriginally a ‘but’ came before a good thing, not a negative thing. Interesting to see if that’s something from the original language, or from the King James English?

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