What Do Conjunctive Adverbs Conjoin?

Contributor: Allison Crews. Lesson ID: 13733

Transitions are one of the keys to strong writing, and conjunctive adverbs are important tools to constructing strong transitions. Learn more in this lesson!


Grammar, Writing

English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Lion, Otter
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

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  • Can you guess the difference between a conjunctive adverb and a conjunction?

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Read on to find out!

Conjunctive adverbs and conjunctions must share a similar function since they share the root word conjoin.

  • But how are they different?

Conjunctions join clauses to make compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences. Notice the italicized conjunctions in these examples.

Compound: I like tacos, and my sister likes burritos.

Complex: Although I ate seven tacos, I was still hungry.

Compound-complex: My sister doesn't like tacos because they are too messy, so she gave me hers.

Conjunctive adverbs can join independent clauses (only); however, the link is not as strong and requires different punctuation.

Using Conjunctive Adverbs

Conjunctive adverbs combine two independent clauses — or complete thoughts — while highlighting that the thoughts are separate with a semicolon or a period.

Here are two examples.

I wanted to go; however, I was feeling sick.

Joe ran all afternoon. Consequently, he ate a huge dinner.

Adding the semicolon and the period between the complete thoughts stresses that they are separate; however, the conjunctive adverb also joins them.

Conjunctive adverbs can also appear embedded within a sentence.

Usually, commas set off the conjunctive adverb. If the interruption in the sentence is weak, no commas are needed.

Here are two examples.

I worked on the essay all night long. Finally, I got it done.

Sally is an artist. She is thus inclined to shopping the sales at Michael's.

In the first example, the interruption in the sentence is more significant, so a comma is used. You can say the two sentences out loud to hear the difference.

There are no hard and fast rules about the strength of the interruption in a sentence, so you have to use your discretion.

Conjunctive adverbs are not a necessary part of a sentence. Nothing about the meaning of the sentence(s) is changed if they are removed.

Because of this, they can move around in the sentence.

Lachlan completely reorganized his room. Incidentally, he found the sneaker for which he'd been searching.

Lachlan completely reorganized him room. He found the sneaker for which he'd been searching, incidentally.

Lachlan completely reorganized his room. He found the sneaker, incidentally, for which he'd been searching.

These examples also show why these are conjunctive adverbs.

You know that an adverb modifies a verb. Conjunctive adverbs connect two ideas through a verb. In each example above, incidentally describes how Lachlan found his sneakers.

Here is a list of common conjunctive adverbs.

  accordingly however now
  also incidentally otherwise
  anyway indeed similarly
  besides instead still
  certainly likewise subsequently
  consequently meanwhile then
  conversely moreover thereafter
  finally nevertheless therefore
  further(more) next thus
  hence nonetheless undoubtedly



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  • How did you do?
  • Do you feel good about the rules of conjunctive adverbs?

If you do, click through to the Got It? section.

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