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.

"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 is used to connect ideas and show the relationship between two independent clauses in a sentence. They provide a transition between the clauses and help to make the writing more cohesive and coherent.

Common Conjunctive Adverbs

Some common examples of conjunctive adverbs are:

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

Now pay attention to some examples:

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.

He studied for hours, yet he didn't feel prepared for the exam.

Difference with Conjunctions

Conjunctions (such as "and," "but," and "or") are words that connect words, phrases, or clauses of equal syntactic importance. They do not modify the clauses they connect, but simply join them together.
Conjunctive adverbs, on the other hand, are words that connect two independent clauses and show the relationship between them. They are used to indicate logical connections between ideas and can modify the clause that comes after them, and they are usually set off by a comma or semicolon.
Another difference is that conjunctions are often used to create shorter, more concise sentences, while conjunctive adverbs are often used to create longer, more complex sentences with a greater level of detail and nuance.
Pay attention to 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:

  1. express cause and effect
  2. add details
  3. compare
  4. contrast
  5. provide examples
  6. summarize
  7. show sequence
  8. show emphasis
  9. indicate time

1. Expressing Cause and Effect

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

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

Take a look at some examples:

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.

The company saw a decrease in profits this quarter; therefore, they have decided to implement cost-cutting measures.

2. Adding Details

Conjunctive adverbs can also add an idea or a detail to the first clause. Here are some of the conjunctive adverbs used to add details:

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

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

I study Italian, in addition to English and French.

3. Comparison

Conjunctive adverbs can also be used to compare 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.

4. Contrast

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

John prefers to work in the mornings, while his coworker Jane is more productive in the afternoons.

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

5. Providing Examples

In order to explain what you mean or to support an argument, you can provide examples or evidence. You can use conjunctive adverbs to introduce these examples:

  • for example
  • for instance
  • namely
  • that is

Take a look at the following examples:

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

I love to eat all kinds of fruit, namely apples, bananas, and oranges.

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.

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 follow. 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.

8. Showing 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

She's a talented musician; of course, she practices for hours every day.

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

9. Indicating 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.

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 and can stand alone as complete sentences, a semicolon should be used to separate them. Alternatively, if the clauses are not independent or cannot stand alone, a period should be used to separate them. Pay attention to the examples:

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 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 in this position, 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 appears in the middle of the clause, it 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.

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 die.' '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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