Using Conjunctive Adverbs
Downloadable Version: Conjunctive Adverbs
Overview: Transitions help your writing flow smoothly. One type of transition, the conjunctive adverb, is used to link related ideas. A conjunctive adverb can be used at the beginning of a sentence, in the middle of a sentence, or to join two sentences.
- When you begin a sentence with a conjunctive adverb, follow it with a comma.
Example: The weather is beautiful today. Therefore, I think I’ll ride my bike to the beach.
- When you interrupt a sentence with a conjunctive adverb, use a comma before and after it to set it off from the rest of the sentence.
Example: The weather is beautiful today. I think, therefore, I’ll ride my bike to the beach.
- When you link two independent clauses (two complete sentences) with a conjunctive adverb, use a semi-colon before the conjunctive adverb and a comma after it.
Example: The weather is beautiful today; therefore, I think I’ll ride my bike to the beach.
Note: Many writers make the mistake of using a conjunctive adverb and a comma to link two complete sentences, but this creates a comma splice, which is considered a major error in sentence structure.
Incorrect: The weather is beautiful today, therefore, I think I’ll ride my bike to the beach.
Here is a list of common conjunctive adverbs:
To show addition
To show contrast
To show time
To show result
To show a specific case
|To show comparison
To strengthen a point
To return to your point after conceding
|To recognize a point adjacent to your main point: certainly, undoubtedly|
Practice: A conjunctive adverb creates a smooth transition between two related ideas. Read a few paragraphs of your draft, and circle conjunctive adverbs. Make sure you have used them with the correct punctuation as shown above. If you did not use conjunctive adverbs, locate two simple sentences and practice by joining them together with an appropriate conjunctive adverb. Remember, however, to avoid overusing these words. Always try to use a variety of sentence types to keep your writing interesting.