8 Nov 2014

Conjunctive adverbs

Conjunctive adverbs called also transitional words and expressions or adverbial phrases or big, ugly linking words can be rather difficult to master for students of English as a second language.

First, they may work as simple adverbs, thus play the role of adverbs, modifying verbs, adjectives and other adverbs.

You can do it however you like, it really doesn't matter. (a modifier of a verb DO)
However hungry I am, I never seem to be able to finish off a whole pizza. (a modifier of an adjective HUNGRY)
As simple adverbs, conjunctive adverbs may be placed at the beginning, at the end or in the middle of a sentence and they do not require using a comma. 

Conjunctive adverbs can also start a clause (a sentence) to indicate: result, concession, apposition, addition, time, contrast, summary or reinforcement. 

This is one possible solution to the problem. However, there are others.
There may, however, be other reasons that we don't know about.

(The examples are from the same page in Cambridge Dictionary.)

Conjunctive adverbs used in such a manner require a comma or two commas. 

And now we may continue our discussion about independent clauses. In literature, there are two ways of introducing conjunctive adverbs, linking independent clauses; one school categorise them into classes whereas the second defines them as sets of relations between clauses. 

For example, a class of 'addition': and, in addition or furthermore; a class of 'contrast': although, and yet or on the contrary, and so on. The problem with classes is that the same conjunctive adverb may be used to show different relations. The point is to use them correctly, not to memorise the list of different classes of plenty of conjunctive adverbs. 

Again, there are two schools of grammarians on how often we should use them. Typically, a very formal piece of work, especially academic essays, will require you to add them not only to link independent clauses, but also to link the paragraphs to show your way of thinking and transition of your ideas. However, many a teacher does not like them in abundance. Less academic writing looks better when transitional sentences between paragraphs are used to connect and to develop the ideas. 

In the next post, I will discuss the most common conjunctive adverbs linking independent clauses. 

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