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What is the difference between allerdings, aber and jedoch? I looked them up in the dictionary and all three mean 'but'.
Could anyone tell me how they're used in a sentence?

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4 Answers 4

Kein Unterschied hier:

Ich bin kein Professor für Philosophie, habe aber 30 Semester Philosophie studiert.

Ich bin kein Professor für Philosophie, habe jedoch 30 Semester Philosophie studiert.

Ich bin kein Professor für Philosophie, habe allerdings 30 Semester Philosophie studiert.

Nur allerdings möglich:

Q: "Kennen Sie sich etwa mit Nietzsche aus?"

A: "Allerdings!"

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The difference is function. All 3 can be a commentating adverb. This is the use that was examplified in the other answer.

  • Ich habe Hunger, ich will aber/jedoch/allerdings nicht essen.

Sentences like these will be translated using the English but. However, but is a conjunction so functionally it is NOT a translation. It only translates the idea. Closer translations when it comes to function would be however or though

  • I am hungry. [However], I don't want to eat [though].

Aber can also be a conjunction.

  • Ich habe Hunger, aber ich will nichts essen.

Jedoch as well... but it is not that common and you'd need to make a pause to make it clear.

  • Ich habe Hunger. Jedoch [pause] Ich will nichts essen.

Allerdings can't do that. So allerdings will always count as one position of the sentence. Also, as pointed out in the other answer it can also have an affirmative meaning and that is not the case for "jedoch" and "aber". So... all 3 words can mean but but but is neither the only nor the best translation for jedoch and allerdings.

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4  
Your pause in the last sentence just hides the wrong word order. Correct is: Ich habe Hunger, jedoch will ich nichts essen. –  Carsten Schultz Oct 7 '13 at 0:57
2  
@CarstenSchultz: Oder Ich habe Hunger, (ich) will jedoch nichts essen. –  user unknown Oct 7 '13 at 1:12
    
Wieso nicht: Ich habe Hunger, will allerdings nichts essen. –  user unknown Oct 7 '13 at 1:14
    
@Carsten Schultz... the fat Duden Grammatik lists this position 0 "jedoch" as a conjunction if I recall correctly (I've seen it about a month ago). So, in my opinion the word order is not wrong... it is just rare. –  Emanuel Oct 7 '13 at 1:16
1  
Ok, @Emanuel, I have no theoretical knowledge of grammar. But if you also think that “..., jedoch will ich nichts essen” is more common and that “..., jedoch ich will nichts essen” requires a pause to sound good, then we have hardly a substantive disagreement anyway. –  Carsten Schultz Oct 7 '13 at 1:31

All three have their own peculiarity. The following is about the usage as adversative conjunction. Note that they all somehow have a stressing effect since they introduce something like a oppositional causality.

  1. Er arbeitet 50 Stunden die Woche, aber er ist immer gut drauf.
  2. Er arbeitet 50 Stunden die Woche, jedoch ist er immer gut drauf.
  3. Er arbeitet 50 Stunden die Woche, allerdings ist er immer gut drauf.
  1. Let's take this as a rather neutral case

  2. then jedoch is even more sober, professional, unemotional, standard ...

  3. whereas allerdings itself has something brightly, confirmative, positive in it.

Change the sentence and it's context, these connotations might blur away. It's just an attempt of characterization of slightly different connotations and it's very hard to exclude tone and context and just focus the conjunction itself.

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Wann kann man "jenoch" oder "jedoch" benutzen ? –  mina Apr 1 at 22:31
    
@mina see my revised answer. There is no jenoch, only dennoch which emphasizes even more what follows. –  embert Apr 2 at 7:52

Using user_unknowns examples.

Ich bin kein Professor für Philosophie, habe aber 30 Semester Philosophie studiert.

--> juxtaposition

I'm no expert, but still have learned a lot.

Ich bin kein Professor für Philosophie, habe jedoch 30 Semester Philosophie studiert.

Change in focus. But no direct juxtaposition.

--> I'm no expert, however I have learned a lot. (and still might be able to help you.)

Ich bin kein Professor für Philosophie, habe allerdings 30 Semester Philosophie studiert.

--> I'm no expert, though I have learned a lot. > Better as Though I have learned a lot, I'm no expert.

--> This means more. Even though I have learned a lot, I'm still no expert. I have got more to learn.

A clarification. I know a lot already, but still need to learn more.

Nur allerdings möglich: (Nope)

Q: "Kennen Sie sich etwa mit Nietzsche aus?"

A: "Allerdings!" OR "Nein, jedoch kenne ich mich mit Kant aus." OR Aber ich bitte sie, wer kennt Nietzsche nicht?

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