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Good question. Here are my thoughts without asking my wife (watch for errors!)Sunny Pig wrote:
What, if any, are the explicit differences between 「でも」,「しかし」,「けど」and「が」when these are used to express contradiction?
I bet you けど and が are used almost interchangeably.
行きたいですけど、行けない。 ikitai desu kedo, ikenai. I'd like to go, but I can't.
行きたいですが、行けない。 ikitai desu ga, ikenai.
Maybe GA is a little stronger than けど.
And でも and しかし both start a sentence and show contradiction about what was just said.
Hi! "Shikashi" is bookish. "Demo" can be used at the start of the sentence. "Ga", "kedo", "keredo", "keredomo" are used at the start of the qualified statement (?). For example, "I am young, but I am not pretty," can be translated as "Watashi wa wakai desu ga, kirei ja arimasen," "Watashi wa wakai kedo, kirei ja arimasen," or "Watashi wa wakai desu. Demo, kirei ja arimasen."