Starting a Sentence With "However": Right or Wrong? If you need a guide on starting sentences with coordinating conjunctions so you can feel free to write what you want but without sounding like an aggressive illiterate, just remember the following: In normal written communication, never start a sentence with a coordinating conjunction. You may, however, encounter people who mistakenly believe that starting a sentence with a conjunction is an error, so consider your audience when deciding to structure your sentences this way. " I'm going to buy a car; however, I'll have to use all of my savings. " As an Amazon Associate and a Bookshop.org Affiliate, QDT earns from qualifying purchases. Strunk & White, pp. Often this is simply phrased as “do not begin sentences with however,” and other times the prohibition is slightly more nuanced (as was the position of Strunk & White), specifying that however should not begin a sentence when the meaning is “nevertheless,” “yet,” or “but.”, This is a stylistic choice, more than anything else, as we have a considerable body of evidence of writers using however to begin sentences, frequently with the meaning of “nevertheless.”, “However, I am sure James does not drink so much. On the other hand, Strunk and White did say in their book, The Elements of Style, that you shouldn't start a sentence with however when you mean “nevertheless” or “but.”, They’re referring to sentences such as this one from Charles Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby, “It is a great deal easier to go down hill than up. Today's topic is how to use the word however in a sentence. 10 synonyms of however from the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus, plus 4 related words, definitions, and antonyms. In both those cases, however isn't playing a role as a conjunction. You can start a sentence with 'because' or 'however,' but you have to know how to do it correctly. Strunk & White could have expanded this advice by urging the use of But as a way to start a sentence and to show contrast at its beginning. 'All Intensive Purposes' or 'All Intents and Purposes'? Lv 4. Can You Start a Sentence with the Word "However"? Whistleblower changes tune, again, president-elect She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. This lesson will walk through how to start with these transitional words but still make sure your sentence is complete. And then there are the rest of us, stumbling about and carrying with us a dim and perpetual sense of worry that every linguistic choice we make, no matter how innocuous it might seem, is fraught with peril. 'Many usages guides have tried to restrict the usage of "however," suggesting it cannot start a sentence, be used with "but," or replace "nevertheless," but none of these guides can agree and there is ample historical evidence of "however" being used at the start of a sentence. That movie, however, was the worst one ever! 1 decade ago. Learn a new word every day. Experto Credo. Bury it between commas, or replace it with but or nevertheless.—Sheridan Baker, The Complete Stylist, 1966, But its use for how and ever as, “However could he do it?” should be avoided as a vulgarism; while its employment in the sense of “at any rate; at all” … is provincial and archaic.—Frank Vizetelly, A Desk-Book of Errors in English, 1920, Avoid starting a sentence with however when the meaning is “nevertheless.”—William Strunk Jr. & E. B. When the word is being used to begin a sentence, a simple comma will do. However you like me to dress, I’ll do the opposite. In this situation, you could actually use no matter how, instead of however, and get the exact same meaning across. The main reason to be careful with its use here is in the potential ambiguity that can ensue. 48-49. I know many of you revere Strunk and White, but this is one instance in which nearly all modern style guides have decided that the classic advice is unreasonable. Examples: However you advise him, he will probably do as he thinks best. However, they kept on, with unabated perseverance,” and this more modern example from the 2009 “Star Trek” movie in which Spock says, “I intend to assist in the effort to reestablish communication with Starfleet. Usage experts have been advising people not to begin sentences with 'however' for at least a hundred years. Check out words from the year you were born and more! 5 years ago. The question I get asked most frequently about however is whether it is OK to use however at the beginning of a sentence, and the answer is yes: it is fine to start a sentence with however. 4 years ago. In case there is not enough there to make you pause every time you use however in the future, there’s more: in his 1926 A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, H. W. Fowler helpfully arranges his quibbles about the use of however into four main categories, addressing the issues of when however comes too early in a sentence, too late, and whether or not but however is redundant (spoiler alert: he thinks it is). The engineers claimed that the bridge was safe; however, they were still not prepared to risk crossing. Definition: Is used to contradict a statement. If you are trying for an effect which comes from having built up a small pile of pleasant possibilities which you then want to push over as quickly as possible, dashing the reader's hopes that he is going to get out of a nasty situation as easily as you have intentionally led him to believe, you have got to use the word "but" and it is usually more effective if you begin the sentence with it. However, the service at the restaurant was terrible. Many usages guides have tried to restrict the usage of "however," suggesting it cannot start a sentence, be used with "but," or replace "nevertheless," but none of these guides can agree and there is ample historical evidence of "however" being used at the start of a sentence. Another word for however. You can start a sentence with "however," but you need to be careful. Although there have been many restrictions proposed for how however is used, there has never been any strong agreement on them, and somehow we all appear to have muddled our way through communicating with each other using this word. Some people stride through our language, wearing heavy boots of confidence and armed with a certainty that they have a commanding grasp of the rules and regulations of the English tongue which is sufficient enough that they never worry about things such as whether they should use that or which. Set your young readers up for lifelong success, Study Up With Our Official SCRABBLE Dictionary. However, I often have thought that a second sentence should follow: "Also, those who do know history are doomed to repeat it." She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Usage experts disagree on whether it is OK to open a sentence with the term, and some feel that the term should be kept to a minimum in general, since using but or yet is less obtrusive (Cook 28–29). 9 However , at present—and for the future as far as we can see—growth in technology outpaces growth in wealth. What could possibly be wrong with using however? "However" is fine both in mid-sentence and to start a sentence, as long as you use the correct punctuation. Answer Save. Nelle. Copyright © 2020 Macmillan Publishing Group, LLC. Although you may have heard otherwise, it's fine to start a sentence with "however." However….actually, before addressing this sense of worry, let’s look at the first word of this sentence, which is the sort of thing that makes us fret. You can start a sentence with ‘because’ or ‘however,’ but you have to know how to do it right. The comma is important because however is a conjunctive adverb that can be used in two different ways: it can join main clauses and it can modify a clause. Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." There is nothing wrong with starting sentences with “and,” “but,” or other similar conjunctions. The modern style guides don’t call starting a sentence with however an error. As is so often the case, the things we may have learned as “rules” for starting a sentence are not always universal. Our Word of the Year 'pandemic,' plus 11 more, monolith " I'm not excited about going; however, I'll go to support you. " Starting Your Sentence The most simple and traditional way to start a sentence is with the […] Object found in Utah desert, recant You just need to know when to use a comma because "however" can mean two different things, and if you don't get the comma right, you risk confusing your readers. The worksheet and quiz are tools that help gauge your knowledge of working with because and however when starting sentences. Find more ways to say however, along with related words, antonyms and example phrases at Thesaurus.com, the world's most trusted free thesaurus. Consider the example below: For example, “therefore” can be used to separate 2 clauses like, “California is a coastal state. It has basically the same meaning as ‘but’. In these examples, however is acting as a connector. We are not certain when the restrictions on however began, although an article in the Chicago Daily Tribune from 1920 includes a parenthetical statement of “a purist tells us that one should never begin a sentence with however,” so it has apparently been around for a century or more. 'Nip it in the butt' or 'Nip it in the bud'. Smoking can lead to many life threatening diseases. White, The Elements of Style, 1959. Work Cited. I couldn’t bring myself to give up my thermal vest, however tired I was of being teased for it. The main thing about however that many people seem to remember is that there was some sort of issue with putting it at the beginning of a sentence. You are allowed to start a sentence with 'however.' If you would like to listen to the audio, please use Google Chrome or Firefox. However Meaning and Sentence Examples. However may be used to begin a sentence, it can be used in conjunction with but, and you can place it pretty much anywhere you want in a sentence, so long as you do so with care. You will be shocked at how commonly used these words are. Beginning sentences with “and and “but” is lazy writing. However, if crew morale is better served by my roaming the halls weeping, I will gladly defer to your medical expertise.”. Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free! If the word however is used as a transition word, you use a comma after it. However discouraging the prospect, he never lost heart. 17 Answers. Cook, Claire Kehrwald. How to use a word that (literally) drives some pe... Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words? If you use however at the beginning of a sentence and don't insert a comma, however means “in whatever manner,” “to whatever extent,” or “no matter how.”, For instance, Winston Churchill said, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results,” and for those of you who like more modern examples, on the TV show House, Dr. Foreman said, “However bad you think you’re going to be in that room, not being there is worse.”. And what about "and" and "but"? Answer: If you are writing in the first person, you really can't get away from using "I" but you can put these sentence starters in front of the "I" so that it doesn't jump out at the reader. However you look at it, you win. If it’s in the middle of a single sentence, it’s considered to be an interrupter, so we need a comma before it and after it. You, however, are going to love that r Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Use ", however," as an aside. However, I was talking about Miss Moore.—Charlotte Brontë, The Duke of Zamorna, 1838, However, as a Spectator I gain’d Admittance, and with the rest entred directly into the Temple.—Silence Dogood (Benjamin Franklin), Letter to The New-England Courant, 14 May, 1722. So pull on your boots of confidence and stop worrying about using however. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better. Can you start a sentence with however? It’s providing a transition from the previous sentence to the next sentence. Example sentences: " I like that sweater; however, it only comes in one color. " Starting a sentence with however is an entirely different thing. However at the Beginning of a Sentence. If it is used to mean “in whatever way,” you do not put a comma after it. However, you should be cautious about doing do. You just need to know when to use a comma and when to use a semicolon. Biden projected 46th President. Quick & Dirty Tips™ and related trademarks appearing on this website are the property of Mignon Fogarty, Inc. and Macmillan Publishing Group, LLC. " The movie got good reviews; however, it was very long. " The chef prepared the fish exquisitely. Find another word for however. "However" Without a Comma: Modifier It has many beaches.” You would rewrite it to say, “California is a coastal state; therefore, it has many beaches.” In some cases, you can also use “therefore” to start a sentence. RE: Can you start a sentence with however? and includes an interactive exercise. You are not supposed to, but it happens. Delivered to your inbox! In this video, Michael Rundell explains whether you can use the word ‘however’ at the beginning of a sentence. Source(s): https://shrinks.im/a8b4l. Some classic grammarians will argue that you should not begin a sentence with however if you can use but or nevertheless, but as applied in the University of Oxford Style Guide, however can be used to start a sentence. ‘However’ indicates that the relationship between the two independent clauses is one of contrast or opposition. Put ", however," after the subject of the second sentence: "I can't make it to lunch. Like other uses of "however," this implies a contrast to the previous content, but in a way that makes the contrast sound a little less crucial. Although doesn’t always require a comma. However. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), Here's why: when you put a comma after however at the beginning of a sentence, everyone knows it means “nevertheless.” There's no reason to outlaw a perfectly reasonable use of the word when you can solve the problem with a comma. 1 1. rosalee. However, many famous writers—including Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë—have used the word this way. What to Know. Starting A Sentence With However. I don't think anyone has ever disputed starting a sentence with however when it is used that way. Welcome to the Real Grammar video series. Favorite Answer. In some cases, you might wish to start a sentence with however. This Site Might Help You. Once you start your sentence with however, however, you must make a decision about comma use. For one week, keep a scorecard of how many times each person uses “no,” “but,” or “however” to start a sentence. This article shows you how to correctly start a sentence in the context of scientific writing, and gives examples of commonly used words you can use. Therefore, starting a sentence with a coordinating conjunction is best reserved for impact. Take a little time to improve your writing by creating better sentences where you don’t need to start sentences with these two words and your writing will be a lot better. If you use "however" at the beginning of a sentence without a comma, "however" means "in whatever manner" or "to whatever extent." (8). ‘However’ can be used to join two simple sentences to make a compound sentence. We are currently experiencing playback issues on Safari. If you want to use however at the start of a sentence in a whatever style of meaning, then you could do something like this: “However the car was driven, it remained on the road”. An easy way to remember when to use ‘however’ and ‘although’ is that the word ‘however’ can be used at the beginning and middle of a sentence with a comma after it, and although is used in mid sentence. Starting a Sentence with "However" For no good reason, lots of writers dislike starting a sentence with "however." In fact, starting a sentence with "however" is a clear way to link a new sentence to the previous sentence, which is the primary function of a conjunctive adverb like "however." To interrupt a sentence that is already in progress, insert "however" between two commas. So, so much. Build a city of skyscrapers—one synonym at a time. It's probably more complicated than you think it is. The question I get asked most frequently about however is whether it is OK to use however at the beginning of a sentence, and the answer is yes: it is fine to start a sentence with however. You can start a sentence with 'and' or 'but' (i.e., a coordinating conjunction) but many still consider this a nonconformist style. Teachers prefer the word “however” to not be overused, as it can take away from the impact of the essay. It means “no matter how.” “However bad you think you’re going to be” and “No matter how bad you think you’re going to be” mean the same thing. However, the ones we were specifically taught to avoid starting a sentence with are “and” and “but.” The good news is, you can rest easy knowing that there is no true grammar rule that says you can’t ever start a sentence with one of these conjunctions. Lv 7. You can also put it at the beginning of your sentence, without a comma afterwards. Some writers have even gone so far as to say it is preferable to start sentences with however instead of burying the word in the middle of a sentence, because putting it at the beginning makes the connection between sentences more clear and therefore makes the text easier to scan. These are both correct if you're using it to mean "nevertheless": Smoking can lead to many life threatening diseases; however, it is a habit difficult to break. With a comma. "—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, 1818, However, he still persisted in his care of him, and made him an offer of his Horse to carry him to the next Town, where he might have Conveniences for drying his Clothes, and getting some inward Refreshment.—Mary Davys, The Cousins, 1725, Oh, there is no accounting for the caprice of women. You can use it in the middle of a sentence without a comma after it. You are allowed to start a sentence with 'however. However, you can start a sentence with "however." As a matter of fact, I usually introduce sentence starters to my class when we are doing a personal essay. Relevance. It's not joining anything to anything else. This page includes examples of starting sentences with 'and,' 'but,' and 'or.' However, some writers would prefer to not start a sentence with however for risk of offending. We may have been taught that a sentence should never start with a conjunction, or . If you do start a sentence like the one above with however, use a comma after it to distinguish it from the other meanings of however. There are better things in life on which to spend your time. 0 0. However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results, However bad you think you’re going to be in that room, not being there is worse, Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. You just need to know when to use a comma and when to use a semicolon. Of my savings. your young readers up for lifelong success, Study up with Our SCRABBLE... ’ or ‘ however ’ can be used to join two simple to! Austen and Charlotte Brontë—have used the word is being used to separate 2 clauses like “. However from the impact of the second sentence: `` I ca n't make it to lunch, ’ you... Fine to start a sentence with however for risk of offending I 'll have to use a after... But '': `` I ca n't make it to lunch today 's topic is how can you start a sentence with however do it.. 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