What do you mean you don’t know? You use them all the time!
>> Use what?
>> Conjunctive WHAT?!
Adverbs. You know: However, Therefore, Furthermore, Moreover…
>> Oh! I guess I’m a conjunctive adverb pro!
Most of us use conjunctive adverbs all the time without thinking about it, but the poor things are often mistreated. In just two minutes, I will show you how to use these babies with style…
Why do we use them?
- In order to indicate the rationale for introducing new ideas
- In order to avoid “and” or “but” at the beginning of a sentence
Conjunctive adverbs are related to conjunctions (*cue grade school conjunction junction song*), namely For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So. However, (< conjunctive adverb), their usage is more formal. In scientific writing, conjunctive adverbs can be extremely helpful to tell your audience why you are giving them certain information. With just a word or two, you can clearly define the relationship between your many awesome ideas. This will help your reader stay engaged in your writing.
When to use them:
When the sentence or idea that follows the conjunctive adverb is:
The same view as the previous sentence or idea [analogous to “AND”]
An opposing view as the previous sentence or idea [analogous to “BUT”]
- On the other hand
- In contrast
A consequence or logical result of the previous sentence or idea [analogous to “SO”]
How to use them like a boss:
*** Avoid this common punctuation error to elevate your writing game ***
Although conjunctive adverbs are similar to conjunctions, they cannot join two independent clauses with a comma as a conjunction can. In other words, you cannot use them in the middle of a sentence like you would with ‘but’ or ‘and’. For example:
Previous reports indicated that these cells are proliferative, however, we did not see any evidence of proliferation in our study.
Previous reports indicated that these cells are proliferative. However, we did not see any evidence of proliferation in our study.
Previous reports indicated that these cells are proliferative; however, we did not see any evidence of proliferation in our study.
Previous reports indicated that these cells are proliferative, but we did not see any evidence of proliferation in our study.
Yes, this is a legitimate reason to use a semicolon in your scientific writing. You’re welcome.
Hopefully this has inspired you to use your conjunctive adverbs with more confidence (and proper punctuation). Happy writing!
Thanks! More grammar-related posts like this would be useful.
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