The adverb \u201chowever\u201d is one that causes some confusion, so it\u2019s important to use it correctly in your academic writing.\n\nBut how is this term used? And how do you make its meaning clear in your written work? It\u2019s all a matter of punctuation\u2026\nHowever (Whatever)\nThis sense of \u201chowever\u201d typically means \u201cto whatever extent\u201d or \u201cin whatever manner\u201d:\nI\u2019ll catch you one day, however far you run!\nIt\u2019s not a formal event, so dress however you want.\nNote that in the examples above, there\u2019s no punctuation between \u201chowever\u201d and the thing it\u2019s modifying (i.e., distance\/mode of dress).\n\nAnother (less common) use of this term is as a synonym for \u201chow.\u201d More specifically, it means \u201chow under the circumstances,\u201d so is typically used when referring to something challenging:\nHowever do proofreaders remember all those grammatical rules?\nAs above, you\u2019ll notice there is no punctuation between \u201chowever\u201d and the rest of the sentence.\nHowever (Nevertheless)\nWhen this term is used as a conjunctive adverb to connect two contrasting points, it should be followed by a comma:\nI had planned to go out today. It was rainy, however, so I stayed inside.\nThe initial results were positive. Further testing, however, is still required.\nHere, it is being used to contrast the latter sentence with the former. As such, we can reformulate these sentences to use \u201cbut\u201d instead:\nI had planned to go out today, but it was rainy, so I stayed inside.\nThe initial results were positive, but further testing is still required.\n\nCan I Start a Sentence with However?\nSince \u201chowever\u201d can substitute for \u201cbut,\u201d some claim it shouldn\u2019t be used at the beginning of a sentence. Nevertheless, even if the idea that you shouldn\u2019t use a conjunction like this were true, it wouldn\u2019t apply in this case.\n\nUnlike the coordinating conjunction \u201cbut,\u201d \u201chowever\u201d is not used to link two independent clauses in a single sentence. As such, if you want to use it to contrast two points, you need to make sure they are both complete sentences.\n\nBeginning a sentence with \u201chowever\u201d can even emphasize a contrast, since it flows more smoothly, foregrounds the comparison and ensures clarity:\nThe initial results were positive. However, further testing is still required.\nBut if you don\u2019t want to use this term at the beginning of a new sentence, you can also connect two sentences with a semicolon:\nThe initial results were positive; however, further testing is still required.\nHowever you choose to use \u201chowever,\u201d however, make sure you punctuate correctly so that your reader will understand what you mean.