What Is a Conjunctive Adverb? | Examples & List

Adverbs updated on  January 30, 2024 5 min read

Conjunctive adverbs (e.g., “however,” “therefore”) are adverbs that act in a similar way to conjunctions, linking the ideas in two sentences or statements together. Rather than modifying a single word, they modify the whole clause to express contrast, cause and effect, comparison, and other connections between two sentences or phrases.

Conjunctive adverb examples
Participants completed a questionnaire. Subsequently, they took a personality test.
It was too late to go to the party. Besides, he didn’t have anything to wear.
Franz went on a diet. As a result, he built some muscle.

How to use conjunctive adverbs

Conjunctive adverbs (e.g., “moreover,” “thus”) are transition words or phrases that demonstrate the connection between two sentences or statements. They are adverbs that act in a similar way to conjunctions; however, the conjunctive adverb punctuation rules are different to regular conjunction punctuation rules.

Conjunctive adverbs at the beginning of a sentence

While coordinating conjunctions (e.g., “and,” “but”) can link two independent clauses in one sentence with only a comma, conjunctive adverbs are not strong enough to be used in this way. Instead, you can end the first independent clause with a period followed by the conjunctive adverb, a comma, and the second independent clause.

Examples: Conjunctive adverbs vs coordinating conjunctions
The night was cold and dark, but Gladys was prepared.
The night was cold and dark, however, Gladys was prepared.
The night was cold and dark. However, Gladys was prepared.

Luka was an excellent cook, and he made everything from scratch.
Luka was an excellent cook, moreover, he made everything from scratch.
Luka was an excellent cook. Moreover, he made everything from scratch.

Note
When a conjunctive adverb is used to link two independent clauses with only a comma, this is known as a comma splice. A comma splice is when a comma is used to connect two clauses that should be separated by a period or semicolon. The QuillBot Grammar checker can help you find and correct comma splices.

Conjunctive adverbs following a semicolon

To link two independent clauses in a single sentence with a conjunctive adverb, you need to use a semicolon after the first independent clause and follow the conjunctive adverb with a comma.

Using a semicolon instead of a period before the conjunctive adverb indicates a closer relationship between the two statements. It’s usually up to the writer whether to use a period or a semicolon.

Examples: Semicolon with a conjunctive adverb
She had studied nonstop for months; consequently, she passed her exam with flying colors.
The names of some animals are misleading; for example, a mountain chicken is a type of frog.

Conjunctive adverbs in the middle of a sentence

Conjunctive adverbs can also interrupt a clause. In this case, they often need to be preceded and followed by commas.

Examples: Conjunctive adverbs in the middle of a sentence
Employees must, in addition, wear the correct uniform while working.
Wales, on the other hand, has a population of over 3 million.

Note
Many conjunctive adverbs can also be normal adverbs. In this case, they can appear in the middle of a sentence without being set off by commas.
He couldn’t complete the crossword, however, hard he tried.
He couldn’t complete the crossword however hard he tried.

Conjunctive adverb list

There are many conjunctive adverbs with a range of meanings. This list contains some of the most common conjunctive adverbs along with some examples.

Use/Meaning

Conjunctive Adverbs

Examples

Contrast Alternatively
Conversely
However
Instead
On the other hand
Alice decided not to play tennis.
Instead, she played badminton.
Cause and Effect Accordingly
As a result
Consequently
Hence
Therefore
Thus
Belle fell in love with the Beast; as a result, the curse was broken.
Illustration For example
For instance
Namely
Typically
There are two subspecies of red panda; namely, the Himalayan red panda and the Chinese red panda.
Emphasis After all
Certainly
Indeed
In fact
Of course
Undoubtedly
I never expected to see him here. In fact, I thought he’d moved away.
Comparison Comparatively
Equally
Likewise
Similarly
Project A was a success. Likewise, Project B has exceeded our expectations.
Continuation/Addition Additionally
Also
Furthermore
In addition
Moreover
Gavin was grounded. In addition, he was given extra chores.
Time At the same time
Beforehand
In the meantime
Meanwhile
Now
Fred chopped the vegetables. At the same time, I made the sauce.
Sequence Finally
Next
Subsequently
Then
Gather the ingredients. Next, mix them together.

Do you want to know more about common mistakes, commonly confused words, or other language topics? Check out some of our other language articles full of examples and quizzes.


Idioms

Parts of speech

Fallacies

Diamond in the rough

Irregular verb

Slippery slope fallacy

Idioms

Gerund

Sunk cost fallacy

Piece of cake

Infinitive phrase

Red herring fallacy

Better late than never

Infinitive

Appeal to authority fallacy

Salt of the earth

Adverb

Circular reasoning fallacy


Frequently asked questions about conjunctive adverbs

Is “but” a conjunctive adverb?

“But” is not a conjunctive adverb; it’s a coordinating conjunction. This means it can join two independent clauses in one sentence when preceded by a comma. For example, “I wanted to buy a new car, but I didn’t have any money.”

Conjunctive adverbs, such as “however,” can’t join two independent clauses in this way. They need to be preceded by a period or a semicolon and followed by a comma: “I wanted to buy a new car; however, I didn’t have any money.”

Is “however” a conjunctive adverb?

“However” is a conjunctive adverb. Conjunctive adverbs are adverbs that act in a similar way to conjunctions, linking the ideas in two sentences or statements together. To join two independent clauses together with a conjunctive adverb, use a period or a semicolon after the first clause and a comma after the conjunctive adverb. For example, “the cat chased the mouse; however, the mouse got away.”

Is “because” a conjunctive adverb?

“Because” isn’t a conjunctive adverb; it’s a subordinating conjunction. Subordinating conjunctions connect subordinate clauses (aka dependent clauses) to independent clauses in a single sentence. For example, “I went to the beach because it was sunny.”

Conjunctive adverbs (e.g., “however,” “moreover”) are adverbs that act in a similar way to conjunctions, linking the ideas in two sentences or statements together. They can link independent clauses with the help of additional punctuation. For example, “it was sunny; therefore, I went to the beach.”

Is “then” a conjunctive adverb?

“Then” is an adverb (and sometimes a noun or an adjective) that is sometimes used as a conjunctive adverb indicating a sequence of events. For example, “Marilyn washed the dishes. Then, she went to bed.” Unlike for some conjunctive adverbs, the comma after “then” is optional.

“Then” is also used in many other ways. Although it’s not a coordinating conjunction, it’s often used as one, especially in informal contexts. For example, “Marilyn washed the dishes, then she went to bed.” This is technically a comma splice, but it’s a construction commonly seen in literature and the media.

What’s the difference between conjunctive adverbs and subordinating conjunctions?

Subordinating conjunctions (e.g., “because,” “although”) connect subordinate clauses (aka dependent clauses) to independent clauses in a single sentence. For example, “I bought an umbrella because it was raining.”

Conjunctive adverbs (e.g., “therefore,” “however”) are adverbs that act in a similar way to conjunctions, linking the ideas in two sentences or statements together. They can link independent clauses with the help of additional punctuation. For example, “It was raining; therefore, I bought an umbrella.”

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Sophie Shores

Sophie has a BA in English Literature, an MA in Publishing, and a passion for great writing. She’s taught English overseas and has experience editing both business and academic writing.

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