Toutefois, Néanmoins : Restrictive Linking Words in French

restrictive french words neanmois toutefois

Are you tired of speaking only simple sentences in French? Would you like to be able to connect ideas and create a complex sentence?

In Today’s lesson, you’ll learn to connect two ideas with a restriction and use Toutefois and Néanmoins.

Linking Words in French (Les mots de liaison)

Linking words are words or phrases that link two sentences, two paragraphs, or two parts of a text. These link words ensure a junction and a logical link.

Linking markers are words (conjunctions, adverbs, prepositions) or groups of words that express a relationship (a link or a report) between two sentences or between two elements present in the sentence.

There are different logical connections that can happen between the two ideas, such as :

  • Addition or gradation (et, de plus, surtout, puis, d’abord, enfin etc.)
  • Classification (puis, premierement, ensuite, d’une part etc.)
  • Restriction or opposition (mais, cependant, en revanche, toutefois, néanmois, malgré, pendant que, alors que, etc.)
  • Cause (car, parce que, grace a, puisque, comme etc.)
  • Consequence (ainsi, c’est pourquoi, aussi, de manière à, etc)
  • Condition or supposition (peut-être, probablement, sans doute, en cas de, à moins que, etc.)
  • Comparaison or equivalent or parallel (de même, ainsi, également, ainsi que etc.)
  • Goal (pour, afin de, pour que, etc.)
  • Alternative (ou, autrement, sinon, soit…soit, ou…ou)
  • Illustration (par exemple, c’est ainsi que, comme)
  • Conclusion (au total, en conclusion, finalement, en bref, au fond etc.)

Restriction or Opposition Connectives

The relationship between two ideas can also be a restrictive relation which means that there’s a certain restriction or limitation imposed.

Words that we use to express restriction or opposition are (cependant, toutefois, néanmoins, ne… que, excepté, sauf, uniquement, hormis).

Today, we’ll talk aboutNéanmoins, Toutefois. 


To introduce a second idea that’s not coherent with the initial idea. Toutefois and Néanmoinsare considered to be partial synonimes.

Let’s take a look at each of them separately.

Néanmoins, néantmoins, en rien moins, (Latin nihil minus) affirms the coexistence, the non-incompatibility of one thing with another. It’s not used to overturn what has been said, but to bring back something that seems opposing to it.

L’eau si fluide, si incapable de toute résistance, et néanmoins si forte pour porter.

Water is so fluid, so incapable of any resistance, and yet so strong to carry.

Let’s see another example.

Galilée avait raison, néanmoins, il dut se rétracter.

Galileo was right, however, he had to retract.


Toutefois, toutes fois makes it that even though something is used to happen at all the times, there are cases and the circumstances when it does not happen. It does not reverse what has been said either, it agrees with the previous statement; but there is an exception; instead of placing one assertion in front of the other, it places a rule or expresses something that differentiates.

Tout pays est bon pour mourir, excepté toutefois celui-ci, quand on laisse quelque chose après soi J. J.

Any country is good for dying, except this one, when you leave something behind J. J.

Lenepveu, V. (2007). Toutefois et néanmoins, une synonymie partielle. Syntaxe et Sémantique, 8, 91-106.

Let’s see another example

« J’ai été embauché pour un nouveau travail, toutefois j’ai une période d’essai de  six mois. »

“I have been hired for a new job, however, I have a six-month trial period.

Here, there is still an opposition between a positive feeling – I got a new job – and a slightly more negative feeling – I have a trial period, so for six months, I wasn’t sure.

How do you Connect Your Ideas in French?

Your ability to connect ideas in French shows your advanced level of language. Ideas can be related in different ways.

Today, we discussed the restrictive relation using two French words,  Néanmoins and Toutefois.

Now, it’s your turn. Make your own sentence in French using these two restrictive words.

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