Downloadable Version: Conjuctive Adverbs
Overview: Transitional expressions help your writing flow smoothly. One type of transitional expression, the conjunctive adverb, is used to link ideas that contain similar subjects or emphases. 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 ideas with similar emphases. Read a paragraph or two of your own writing, and locate two simple sentences that might be more effective if joined together by a conjunctive adverb. Rewrite the sentences using an appropriate conjunctive adverb. Remember, however, to avoid overusing them. Always try to use a variety of sentence types to keep your writing interesting.