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The correct use of "However" // English Grammar


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How to use the conjunction However

I really like to use the conjunction "However". However, I am not always sure about the correct usage of it :=)

I am pretty sure that it is very common to put "However" at the beginning of a sentence and then you put a comma, but what about using However in the middle of a sentence or maybe even in the end? Is this possible and if it is, is it grammatically correct?

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I'm not too sure on this, but I'm fairly certain that I've seen the word used in the middle of the sentence, although not really as often as using it in the beginning. As for using it at the end, that one might be a little more rare if not completely non-existent.

An example I've seen of usage of this in the middle would go something like this:

I, however, have never been a fan of his work.

Again, not entirely sure of this, hopefully other members can chime in, and I'd actually love to see it used at the end of the sentence if that is indeed still a correct format.

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1. "However" can modify a sentence/clause [whatever] or it can be used just like any conjunction to join two clauses. However, when used with a comma at the beginning of a sentence can be equated to using the word "nevertheless." That's if, there's a preceding sentence and it [ the sentence which follows] is a continuation of a thought/idea/subject matter that is inconclusive in the previous sentence. To avoid confusion, it's always better to use this form of "however" in the middle of a sentence.

'We might have lost the battle," The City Manager said, "however, we shall win the war."

Most consumers prefer cheap products. However, such products are always of a lower quality and therefore don't last long.

2. "However" when used without a comma.

However bad the weather is, we'll still have to take our dog for a walk.

However mean and rough he looks, he's the kindest man you'll ever meet.

In such instances "however" is used to contrast an impression against what's in reality the truth or whatever, depending on the context.

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1. "However" can modify a sentence/clause [whatever] or it can be used just like any conjunction to join two clauses. However, when used with a comma at the beginning of a sentence can be equated to using the word "nevertheless." That's if, there's a preceding sentence and it [ the sentence which follows] is a continuation of a thought/idea/subject matter that is inconclusive in the previous sentence. To avoid confusion, it's always better to use this form of "however" in the middle of a sentence.

'We might have lost the battle," The City Manager said, "however, we shall win the war."

Most consumers prefer cheap products. However, such products are always of a lower quality and therefore don't last long.

2. "However" when used without a comma.

However bad the weather is, we'll still have to take our dog for a walk.

However mean and rough he looks, he's the kindest man you'll ever meet.

In such instances "however" is used to contrast an impression against what's in reality the truth or whatever, depending on the context.

Thank you for that wonderful explanation Denis! Really appreciate it...and as far as I can see, other people appreciated it as well  :grin:

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Interesting topic!

I was taught that if I was going to use, 'however' in middle of a sentence it should be after a semi-colon. However, that could be because our grammar was so bad, our grade 6 teacher started us from the beginning. She followed the KISS method for us: keep it simple stupid. ;)

Anyways, I mostly use, 'however' in the beginning of a sentence or in the middle with a semi colon. How wrong or right is that?

Something like, "I am Canadian; however, I live in Mexico". 

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You can use however in the middle of a sentence; however, it doesn't look very professional. You would usually want to avoid it except in the case of wanting to really emphasize something. Even then I think that there are better ways to do it.

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I too use the word "however" quite often. I most times use it in the form that takes on the comma. I do know that it is grammatically correct to use it in the other ways too. I have never been corrected in English Language class for using it and since I do use them often my conclusion is that it is perfectly right to be used in any of the ways.

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It's not just me then, I'm constantly using the word 'However' when trying to write more formally, it's a really bad habit because not only does it sound weird, I look like a moron when using it in a sentence where it doesn't belong.

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From what I've been taught and what my Professors view as acceptable, it should rarely be used at the beginning of a sentence. Consider 'however' as a change of thought constituting a pause in time. 'However' usually follows a comma and precedes a comma as well. I think at the end of the day, go with whichever use fits best for your style of writing.

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I always figured it would be incorrect to use "however" in the middle of a sentence, since that's what "but" is for. However, I've seen it in the middle of sentences before, with a comma. Such as, "I was walking and was aimed towards going to get the mail, however I ended up at a strange garden instead". I've actually seen that, in books and in news, etc. I've always wondered if it was correct. However, I stick to using "however" in the beginning of sentences. :P

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You can also use it with a comma or nothing at all, it just depends on the message you want to convey.

For example:

We sometimes make typos in our posts on linguaholic; however, we try hard to avoid doing so.

We sometimes make typos in our posts on linguaholic however hard we try to avoid doing so.

Or with a comma to show a contradiction to the previous point:

I always assumed people resented having to learn English as a second language. The posts on linguaholic, however, show that this isn't true at all.

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