Grammar Tips: What Are Conjunctive Adverbs?
  • 2-minute read
  • 29th May 2023

Grammar Tips: What Are Conjunctive Adverbs?

A conjunctive adverb, otherwise known as a subordinating adverb, is an adverb that connects two clauses. And while they play an important grammatical role, punctuating them can be a little tricky (at first!).

In this post, we’ll discuss how to use conjunctive adverbs in your writing and the correct way to punctuate them.

What Are Conjunctive Adverbs?

Conjunctive adverbs help smooth the transition between two related ideas. They can connect two clauses within the same sentence or link two complete sentences and can be used to:

●  Present a contrasting idea (however, nonetheless, nevertheless, instead).

●  Show a sequence of events (finally, next, subsequently).

●  Show cause and effect (consequently, therefore).

●  Expand on previously stated information (additionally, moreover).

●  Demonstrate corresponding ideas (similarly, likewise).

●  Show a time connection (meanwhile, simultaneously, now).

Find this useful?

Subscribe to our newsletter and get writing tips from our editors straight to your inbox.

●  Emphasize a point (indeed, certainly).

This isn’t all of them – there are many more conjunctive adverbs.

Punctuating Conjunctive Adverbs

These adverbs can join two independent clauses using a semicolon and a comma (never two commas). For example:

I want to go to the beach tomorrow; however, I think it’s going to rain.
I want to go to the beach tomorrow, however, I think it’s going to rain.

They can also show the relationship between two complete sentences. In these cases, a comma should follow the conjunctive adverb if it’s used at the beginning of a sentence and precede it if it’s at the end. For example:

I want to go to the beach tomorrow. However, I think it’s going to rain.
I want to go to the beach tomorrow. However I think it’s going to rain.
I want to go to the beach tomorrow. I think it’s going to rain, however.
I want to go to the beach tomorrow. I think it’s going to rain however.

 If a conjunctive adverb is used in the middle of a sentence, it can be offset with commas. For example:

She doesn’t like to bake. She does, however, enjoy buying cookies from bakeries.

This isn’t a hard and fast rule: if the conjunctive adverb is essential to the meaning of the sentence, then the surrounding commas can be omitted. This is often the case for adverbs like thus and therefore; however, what is considered essential can be a matter of judgment.

Check out these examples:

It looks like it’s going to snow during recess tomorrow. All students therefore need to wear winter gear.

The math test is on Monday. You thus need to study all weekend.

Expert Proofreading Services

Whether you’re writing a novel or a dissertation, get your writing checked by our expert proofreading team. Send in your free proofreading sample today!

Comments (0)

Get help from a language expert.

Try our proofreading services for free.

More Writing Tips?
  • 2-minute read

    Is I a Pronoun?

    Understanding the role of words in language is fundamental to effective communication. Pronouns are a...

  • 4-minute read

    Hyphen vs. Dash | Punctuation Tips

    Hyphens and dashes often cause confusion due to their similar appearance. However, these two punctuation...

  • 3-minute read

    Are Movies Italicized?

    If you’ve ever found yourself hesitating before handing in a paper because you’re wondering whether...

  • 2-minute read

    Loose or Lose? | Spelling Tips

    The question of whether to use loose or lose is common because we often confuse...

  • 2-minute read

    Can You Start a Sentence With Because?

    Have you ever wondered whether you can start a sentence with because? You may have...

  • 2-minute read

    Spelling Tips: Dreamt vs. Dreamed

    Dreamt and dreamed can both be the past tense of the verb dream. Generally, both...

Trusted by thousands of leading
institutions and businesses

Make sure your writing is the best it can be with our expert English proofreading and editing.