Conjunctive Adverbs

By Maeve Maddox

Conjunctions are words that link words, phrases, and clauses and provide a smooth transition between ideas.

Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Some adverbs can also join or show connections between ideas. When they do this, they are called conjunctive adverbs.

Conjunctive adverbs show comparison, contrast, sequence, cause-effect, or other relationships between ideas.

The most common conjunctive adverbs are:

accordingly
also
besides
consequently
conversely
finally
furthermore
hence
however
indeed
instead
likewise
meanwhile
moreover
nevertheless
next
nonetheless
otherwise
similarly
still
subsequently
then
therefore
thus

Conjunctive adverbs function in three ways.

1. They indicate a connection between two independent clauses in one sentence:

The primary meaning of the term ḥeḥ was “million” or “millions”; subsequently, a personification of Ḥeḥ was adopted as the Egyptian god of infinity.

In this explanation of why a particular word was personified the way it was, subsequently joins the ideas and conveys sequence at the same time. The word heh means millions; it follows that the personification derived from heh would be a god of infinity.

2. They link ideas in two or more sentences.

Democracy has empowered thousands upon thousands of the “selfish, ignorant, timid, stubborn, or foolish,” who come from a mix of different nationalities. All hope is not lost, however, since there are “hundreds who are wise.”

 

In this quotation from a speech by Woodrow Wilson, the however connects and contrasts “thousands of foolish citizens” in the first sentence with “hundreds who are wise” in the second sentence.

3. They show relationships between ideas within an independent clause.

We are determined to do whatever must be done in the interest of this country and, indeed, in the interest of all to protect the dollar as a convertible currency at its current fixed rate.

In this quotation from a speech by John F. Kennedy, indeed connects ideas within the sentence: the idea of doing something on a national level and on an international level as well.

Punctuation note: A conjunctive adverb within a sentence is set off by commas. A conjunctive adverb that begins or ends a sentence is set off by one comma:

Therefore, let us reconsider this legislation that marginalizes a large proportion of employees.

You were late for the fifth time today; you are dismissed, therefore.

Click here to get access to 800+ interactive grammar exercises!


Share


4 Responses to “Conjunctive Adverbs”

  • Dale A Wood

    The long word subsequently is grossly overused by speakers of British English. There are short words that mean the same – words that are used by Americans and Canadians.
    DAW

  • Precise Edit

    Any comment on the word “too”?

  • Maeve

    Precise Edit,
    “Too,” when used to mean “also” or “as well,” is a conjunctive adverb, along with “therefore,” “however,” “additionally,” and other such words.

    I read that on a really good language blog somewhere:
    http://preciseedit.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/comma-with-too/

  • Precise Edit

    Phew! I was worried when I didn’t see it on your list of common conjunctive adverbs. (And thanks for the thumbs up on that post.) The commas with conjunctive adverbs are important to indicate that the conjunctive adverb applies not to a part of a statement but to the entire statement.

Leave a comment: