Submitted by paul  •  February 19, 2010

“and yet”

I most often hear this “conjunction set” used in spoken form; it seems redundant. I’m quite sure that “yet” suffices. If indeed “yet” is setting off an independent clause, think a semicolon right before “yet” would be the proper form. Any opinions?

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"And yet" is idiomatic. "Yet" on its own (or with a semicolon), as a conjunction, is not incorrect, but it seems a little stilted to me.

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If it were redundant, it wouldn't be there, would it?

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Nigel is correct: "and yet" is a perfectly acceptable idiom. Where would Lerner and Loewe have been without it?

"I was serenely independent and content before we met
Surely I could always be that way again –
And yet
I've grown accustomed to her look
Accustomed to her voice
Accustomed to her face"

However, I disagree with the use of "yet" after a semicolon. A conjunction is not needed after a semicolon; the semicolon replaces the conjunction.

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"and yet" is redundant, grammatically. Each word is a coordinating conjunction, meant to coordinate. Therefore, both are battling to do the one job in the sentence. Only one should be used. The use of these words together as idiomatic in speech is fine, but in writing where we can be impeccably clear, the writer should decide: does he/she wish to emphasize addition (and) or contrast (yet). Then he/she can be most clear about the meaning conveyed in the sentence.

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Indeed, "and yet" is redundant. 'And' and 'yet' are two of the 7 coordinating conjunctions. The five others are FOR, NOR, BUT, OR, and SO.

As for the semicolon right before 'yet', that would be incorrect.
When using a coordinating conjunction to connect two sentences, a comma is used.

For example:
I am not his biological child, yet he treats me like his own.

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although redundant, the phrase captures a tone. That's why Ellie Weisel used it in Night. And yet, some people are too stuck on grammar to get that. Oh well.

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Paddy, there is a clear difference between the aims of many types of formal writing and those of autobiographical narratives such as Wiesel's classic; yet, to indicate that "some people are too stuck on" their misguided paths "to get that" would be incredibly pompous and needlessly antagonistic.

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"And yet" is no worse than "and then", "and so", "and still", etc., etc. In most cases, the "and" can be removed and the sentence is still clear, but that doesn't mean that the "and" is wrong or even redundant. In "and yet", yet usually means "in spite of". "And" means "in addition to". The two notions are different but not exclusive of each other, so if I want to describe a second occurrence that happens in spite of a first occurrence and also want to stress that the second occurrence happens in addition to the first one, then "and yet" is the perfect means.

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I'm with porsche, JMMB, nigel and douglas.bryant. And so, it would seem, are quite a few dictionaries. Here are few sentences given as examples as how to use 'yet':

He has a good job, and yet he never seems to have any money. (Oxford Advanced Learner's)
He's overweight and bald, (and) yet somehow, he's attractive. (Cambridge)
She does not speak our language and yet she seems to understand what we say. (Longman's)
I want to and yet I haven't the courage (Collins)

And what about the elliptical expression standing on its own: "I don't really need another new jacket. And yet!"

I have to confess that I really can't understand this preoccupation with redundancy in spoken language. If you're writing your Master's thesis, maybe, but in normal conversation? In fact, linguists reckon that a bit of redundancy is often very useful as an aid to understanding.

And even in formal writing, if a piece is crap, however much redundancy you remove, it's still going to be crap.On the other hand if you write a brilliant piece, nobody's going to worry about the odd "whether or not" etc. After all, some of the best writers do it.

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Hello @ all,
I have a special interest in this question as I am writing my MA thesis about animals in dystopian literature and, although it had been said to me that I should not use "and" at the beginning of a new sentence, I did so in combination with "yet". I believe, it indicates a connection and a contrast at the same time and focuses the attention more than just by utilizing "yet".
Here comes my example:
"...Nonetheless, despite the existence of alternative concepts to the European human-animal paradigm, their general impact on modern Western thinking has not become momentous so far.
And yet, in spite of our contemporary society still being pervaded by the dichotomous animal-human relationship, a gradual destabilization of selfsame has concurrently come to pass since the Victorian period, most prominently in the realms of science, art and literature".
What does is sound like for a native speaker?
Greetings from Germany,

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... Correction: What does this sound like to a native speaker? ;-)

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Hi there from Florida USA, I came across the "and yet" issue where I found your interesting post.I came here to tell an old riddle that a friend and I have had fun with for 20 years.Though first,as far as your Question..native speaker? I'm not sure exactly what you mean.If you mean American( i am not a writer,I do read a lot) I can offer: This "thinking has not become momentous so far." It seems a little awkward,maybe use less words? The word "selfsame" is not something that I personally hear often and I found it confusing.The word realms actually sounds Victorian,fairieis and . Maybe you could use a less flowery word..Please remember this is just MY opinion and I am not qualified to comment..I just happen to have the time..ok? .I thought it was otherwise very well written and interesting information.I would really enjoy being able to read your thesis when it is complete? I am very curious to know wtf the Euopean human -animal paradigm is? NOW the riddle :)..."The man walked over the bridge and yet,he ran." Perhaps you know the answer? It took me a long time but I catch on slow.Can anyone answer the original "and yet" riddle?
Thank you

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Hello again,
With "native speaker" I meant English native speaker. I am German and only majoring in English. Thank you very much for your comment on my example, but you did not write anything about the "And yet" at the beginning of the new paragraph. Does it sound odd or inadequate to you? Sure, you are welcome to read my MA thesis as soon as it is completed. In this case, I need your e-mail address. It will take me up to mid July to finish my work. Regarding your riddle, I haven't got a clue.
Greetings from Germany,

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@Frogwhisperer - were there two men? As a conjunction, "yet" means "despite this", and is often used after "and" - so we could have "The man (eg. Tom) walked over the bridge, and yet he (eg. Dick) ran."

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No there were not two men..but you are getting there.

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As far as the "And yet" question.I don't think it is incorrect but it may be unnecessary.I have recently been reading about how to write.It seems many writers recommend paring down any unnecessary words.Words that don't add any meaning. I see you previously used the word Nonetheless.This word may also be unnecessary.If you write the sentence w/out these words they still express the same meaning.In certain schools of thought they would be considered fluff. Although, you then have a sentence starting with "despite" and the next sentence starting with "in spite" which starts to sound redundant.So it becomes a bit of a quandary.I hope that someone else here may help out with further input,or comment on my input.Please remember I am not an expert.I am an avid reader

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I'm inclined to agree with Frogwhisperer as to Ulrich's construction. The use of "and yet" is not in itself jarring. But the use of "nonetheless," "despite," "and yet," and "in spite" in quick succession makes it impossible to follow the chain of logic that is being explained. Each such phrase expresses a change in the flow of thought, so four of them in two sentences makes it seem you simply haven't decided which of the various thoughts you're expressing is the most important one. Other notes: "become momentous" seems to be a malapropism for "gain momentum"; "dichotomous relationship" seems to be a confusing way to say "dichotomy"; I don't like "selfsame" either; and it's not clear what "concurrently" refers to. This sort of academic verbiage is not so easy to tackle even for native speakers.

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