From ‘But…’ to ‘Yes, And…’

One of the tidbits I appreciated from Andre Vashist’s presentation at the System Thinking Exchange this morning was this little takeaway:

Try replacing the word ‘but…’ with ‘yes, and…’

‘That’s a great idea, but…’ positions the remaining words to stand in opposition to the idea. ‘But’ is used as a contradiction to the proposition that the idea is ‘great.’ Alternatively, ‘That’s a great idea, yes, and…’ invites layer and nuance.

How many things exist as binaries? Replacing ‘but’ with ‘yes, and’ — in speech and in writing — is a very interesting experiment.

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2 Replies to “From ‘But…’ to ‘Yes, And…’”

  1. @jamesshelley I’m a huge fan of this technique, as it can be very helpful to get people to accept that some seemingly contradictory ideas/goals aren’t. I also like, “That’s a great idea and I can see how it solves for this problem. How can we also solve for this other problem/avoid this possible negative side-effect at the same time?”


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