Could someone describe all possible differences which distinguish these three conjunctives ('but', 'however', and 'on the other hand')? For example, are there cases when you can use 'However' but you cannot use 'But' or vice verse? Pedantism is welcomed because I need to know even the slightest nuances. I am also curious if there are any changes in meaning, style, fluency etc. depending on whether 'however' or 'on the other hand' is placed right in the beginning of the sentence or after the subject or the predicate. So far I know from academic grammars that 'On the other hand' can be used to express antithesis, replace an item by a more important one, or signal dissimilar or concessive relationship. 'However' is used only to signal concessive relationship and it is more emphatic than 'But'.
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Sorry, but it is beyond my ability to describe all possiblities of anything. I'll pass this on to the next advisor.
Mister Micawber, could you please post a reply or two if any thoughts concerning the topic come to your mind later? I understand that it is rather difficult or maybe even impossible to answer the questions because it seems that sources of reference that describe individual conjunctives extremely thoroughly are very hard to find (do they even exist?), but I was hoping that people who notice this thread could at least speculate on the differences of 'but', 'however', and 'on the other hand' on the basis of their "linguistic intuition" as native speakers of English. These words may seem to be completely equivalent to each other at the first look, but if you look beneath the surface it seems that there are cases when only one of them is suitable.
The following comments are worthless, I agree, but let me say them: You can start a sentence with "however", and it doesn't sound right with "but". There's a comma after "however", not after "but".

Can one stick however in the middle of the sentence or does it always have to start a new sentence?
You wrote that.

Can one stick however in the middle of the sentence or does it always have to start a new sentence?

Even though my knowledge of english is limited, my grammar book has the information about the use of "however", so I think it's safe to reply to your question according to my book.

However is adverb; it can be used to link the sentences, so you can put it in the middle of two sentences to form a compound sentence (it's a conjunctive adverb).

However can be put in many places in the sentence and here are its position and its needed punctuations (according to my book).

1. ID; however, ID (He was annoyed; however, he kept quiet.)
2. ID. However, ID (He was annoyed. However, he kept quiet.)
3. ID. ID, however. (He was annoyed. He kept quiet, however.)
4. ID. ID (subject), however, v/o/c. (He was annoyed. He, however, kept quiet.)

Hope this helps.

P.s. About your other questions, I guess it's beyond my ability, but the thing that I can tell you is that:
- But is co-ordinate conjunction, so its use is almost the same as however but however is mostly used in more formal situation.
- On the other hand is mainly use when we want to compare one thing to the other but I don't think it functions as a conjunction (compound sentence) or tip-off word (complex sentence). I think that it's just a phrase that we add to help us express our feeling.

I took a look at dictionary and this is the definition of on the other hand.
on the one hand ... on the other hand
used when you are comparing two different facts or two opposite ways of thinking about a situation:
On the one hand I'd like a job which pays more, but on the other hand I enjoy the work I'm doing at the moment.

End Quote

You'll see that there is a conjunction (but) between the 2 sentences which means that on the other hand alone cannot be used to connect the sentences, so if you want to use it (in compound sentence form), don't forget to put in the conjunction.

These are just my 2 cents, so please correct me if I'm wrong.

By the way, if anyone happens to know the answer to my question in the other thread, it'll be appreciated if you help me.
When used as a transitional word, ‘however’ has the exact same meaning as ‘but’. But I prefer ‘but’ because it is shorter and a comma does not follow it.
I like the way you have framed the question.

Infact, I just sent an e-mail with 'but' and 'however' on the same sentence.

eg. we are interested to work on this project but however there are certain concerns.

I guess 'but' is complete contrast and however is not that much.

but however there are certain concerns.
I sincerely hope you did not send that to a customer. It is grammatically horrendous.
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