We form a “but” in Japanese by appending the が particle to the end of the clause.

I want to go on holiday but I can’t take time off.
Normally I cook myself, but today I want to eat out.
It’s tough studying for exams, but please do your best.
My room is not big, but the rent is expensive.

Grammatically speaking, が can also be used with standard form of the verbs but you only ever see this in formal writing (e.g. newspapers). The below was an actual headline from Newsweek.

Iranians suffering from water shortages, but it could be a chance to resolve the conflict in the Middle East.

In conversation the particle けど is typically used instead.

I can drink alcohol but don’t do so that often.

Note: あまり is used with the negative to mean “not so much” or “not too often” etc.

I didn’t really study, but somehow I managed to pass.
The stores clothes are cheap, but the quality isn’t good.

Note that the topic particle is used in the first clause in the last example. You may think we need to use が because we are connecting the noun (clothing) with the adjective “cheap” but then the topic of the sentence would be ambiguous (and would have readers wondering, “The quality of what is good?”

That TV programme is funny, but I’m busy with work and don’t have time to watch it.
The bullet train is convenient, but it’s expensive.
I don’t hate natto, but very rarely eat it.

Note: めった is used with the negative to express that you don’t do something very often. It has more emphasis than あまり.

けど can also be used in polite conversation, but you would not see it in written text (unless on maybe someone’s personal blog).

That person is an accountant, but he’s not good at maths.

In fact there are three other variations of けど: けれど, けども, and けれども. The nuance is broadly the same for all four and grammatical usage is identical. けど is by far the most commonly used.

My grades aren’t bad, but I could try a little harder.
My grades aren’t bad, but I could try a little harder.
My grades aren’t bad, but I could try a little harder.
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