Conjunctive Adverbs

As their name requires, conjunctive adverbs are used to connect two clauses. They can be moved around in the sentence. So, read the article to learn the rules.

Intermediate
"Conjunctive Adverbs" in the English Grammar

What Are Conjunctive Adverbs?

A conjunctive adverb (also called adverbial conjunction, or subordinating adverb) is an adverb or adverbial phrase that links two clauses. It shows a relation between two sequential independent (or main) clauses.

Common Conjunctive Adverbs

Some common examples of conjunctive adverbs are:

  • also
  • consequently
  • besides
  • however
  • then
  • therefore
  • moreover

If you are not going to be honest with him then I will.

This is an unpleasant disease. However, it can be treated easily.

Similarity with Conjunctions

A conjunctive adverb acts exactly like coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, so, for, yet, nor), i.e. it brings together two complete thoughts. They use the second clause to modify the first clause like an adverb.

She slept late at night but she managed to wake up on time.

I was so happy yet so lonely.

Difference with Conjunctions

The semantic meaning of conjunctive adverbs is not as strong as coordinating conjunctions and their punctuation rules are different. 'Coordinating conjunctions' are sometimes confused with the 'conjunctive adverbs.' Both of them are used to link two independent clauses together. 'Coordinating conjunctions' link two clauses that are equally emphasized while conjunctive adverbs transit one complete idea to another. Here are the examples:

I'm vegan so I don't eat meat.

She is so rich, however she wears cheap clothing.

Conjunctive Adverbs: Uses

A conjunctive adverb is a part of speech that is used to connect one clause to another. They are used to indicate about:

  1. cause and effect
  2. addition
  3. comparison
  4. contrast
  5. providing examples
  6. summarizing
  7. showing sequence
  8. emphasis
  9. time

Use #1: Cause and Effect

Some conjunctive adverbs can indicate the cause and effect of an action. In this case, the first clause is the cause, and the second clause is the effect. These conjunctive adverbs include:

  • consequently
  • as a result
  • therefore
  • because
  • as a consequence
  • for this reason
  • wherefore

She couldn't attend the swimming competition because she had broken her legs.

They have had many problems; as a result, their marriage turned into a failure.

She took an ill turn, but wherefore I cannot say.

Use #2: Addition

Conjunctive adverbs can also add an idea to the first clause. Here are some possible conjunctive adverbs to show addition:

  • also
  • besides
  • moreover
  • additionally
  • furthermore
  • in addition

We have used woods to make this bridge. Also, we have used glitter to make it shine.

I study Italian, in addition to English and French.

Use #3: Comparison

Conjunctive adverbs can also be used to compare and contrast two ideas. One idea is in the first clause, and the second idea comes after the conjunctive adverb. Examples of comparative conjunctive adverbs are:

  • similarly
  • likewise
  • alternatively

We can watch a movie, or alternatively, we can go to a restaurant and eat.

The mushrooms were delicious. Likewise, the potatoes were awesome.

Use #4: Contrast

Indicating the contrast between two ideas is another use of conjunctive adverbs. Look at some eamples of conjunctive adverbs that show contrast:

My mother baked the cake, while I was taking a shower.

I started to cry in front of every one, on the other hand, he shouted and laughed at me.

Use #5: Providing Examples

In order to explain what you mean or to support an argument, you can use examples or evidence to back it up. You can use conjunctive adverbs to introduce them:

  • for example
  • for instance
  • namely
  • that is

Many games, namely Bingo and Musical Chairs, need at least two people.

What you eat can cause illnesses; for example, a diet high in fats can cause heart diseases.

Use #6: Summarizing

Sometimes you need to sum up your argument after stating all the details. You can use some conjunctive adverbs to do that:

  • in conclusion
  • in summary
  • to sum up
  • in brief
  • in short

We talked and I cried then he started making excuses. In brief, I can say we broke up.

These small particles can cause cancer and different kinds of disease. To sum up, they are really dangerous.

Use #7: Showing Sequence

using a conjunctive adverb in a sentence

Sometimes, for example, while narrating, you need to put events in sequential order to make them easier to understand. Using conjunctive adverbs is one way to do that. Examples of these conjunctive adverbs are:

  • first
  • second
  • next
  • then
  • finally

My cousin cooked the dinner then put the turkey on the table.

She was acting weird. Finally I asked her what's wrong.

Use #8: Time

Conjunctive adverbs can also show time. They tell us when the first clause happened and when the second clause happened. Examples of conjunctive adverbs that show time are:

She moved out last September and I haven't seen her since.

Liam is getting married in June. Meanwhile, he's still looking for a job.

Use #9: Emphasis

Conjunctive adverbs can be used to put emphasis on a clause. Emphatic conjunctive adversb connect two similar thoughts, with the second thought being more emphatic. Take a look at some examples of these adverbs:

  1. indeed
  2. moreover
  3. certainly
  4. again
  5. of course

And again, these lessons will significantly improve your language skills.

He is late again, certainly he is stuck in the heavy traffic.

Conjunctive Adverbs: Punctuation Rules

Before conjunctive adverbs, we can have either a semicolon or a full stop (a period). After them, we usually have a comma.

It was the truth; however, you shouldn't have said that.

It was the truth. However, you shouldn't have said that.

Full Stop, Semicolon, or Comma?

If the clauses before and after the conjunctive adverb are independent ones and can stand on their own, you better use a semicolon before them. Otherwise, use a period.

Nina runs a catering company. Also, she plans parties.

To link two independent clauses in one sentence conjunctive adverbs are often followed by a comma or they themselves follow a semicolon. Check out the examples.

You need to try harder; otherwise, you won’t get a passing grade.

We wanted to play outside; however, it rained and we stayed inside.

Conjunctive adverbs can be easily used at the beginning of the first clause. The only important point is that they must be followed by a comma.

Undoubtedly, he would get into trouble.

Eventually, he managed to find his way home.

Two Commas?

A conjunctive adverb like most adverbs can appear almost anywhere in the clause. When it is appearing in the middle of the clause, the conjunctive adverb is usually set off by commas on either side.

I couldn't buy you a suitable present, instead, I baked you a delicious cake and I have wine with me.

You had every right to say that. It was, nonetheless, a little insensitive to say out loud.

No Comma?

If the conjunctive adverb is a one-syllable word, no comma is necessary before the adverb.

She asked not to leave thus I stayed over for one night.

Mix the flour and butter then add the eggs.

When conjunctive adverbs can also appear as the first word in a sentence. In this case, also add a comma after it.

Finally, she managed to buy her dream car.

However, we have studied all night, we couldn't pass the test.

Conjunctive Adverbs: Placement

Conjunctive adverbs commonly appear:

  1. at the beginning of the sentence
  2. between the subject and the first verb
  3. at the end of the sentence

She already had a lot of experience. Therefore, she seemed the best candidate for the job.

This isn't a job that needs a team work; a single person, therefore, may suffice.

'Every man must dies.' 'We will die therefore.'

Review

Text integrity requires 'adverbial conjunctions' to join two independent clauses with each other. In this lesson, all kinds of conjunctive adverbs were discussed. Here are the uses:

cause and effect addition comparison
contrast providing examples summarizing
showing sequence time emphasis

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