Conjunctive Adverbs

The role of a conjunction is rather straightforward. Its job is to connect. Conjunctions are used to link words, phrases, and clauses together and provide a smooth transition between ideas. Adverbs are words that modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs and they can be used as conjunctions as well. When they are, they’re known as conjunctive adverbs.

What Are Conjunctive Adverbs?

Conjunctive adverbs function as conjunctions to ease the transition between ideas in a sentence or between sentences. They accomplish this task by showing comparison, contrast, sequence, cause-effect or other relationships between ideas.

When conjunctive adverbs are used to join two main clauses, it acts as a coordinating conjunction by connecting two separate and complete ideas. To connect two clauses you use a semicolon, not a comma. The pattern goes like this:

Main clause; conjunctive adverb, main clause

Here is a sentence example:

The heavy traffic on 5th street made Claire think twice about stopping by the mall; moreover, she had a huge science paper due the next morning.

If a conjunctive adverb is used at the beginning of the sentence then use a comma immediately afterwards. For example:

John was tired after a long day at school. Therefore, he immediately took a nap when he got home.

Sometimes the interruption of flow is weak so a comma isn’t necessary.

Anna dropped her cell phone in the swimming pool. She will therefore have to do extra chores to earn money for a new one.

Here is another example of proper comma use.

George made a poor grade on his mid term exam. He is determined, nevertheless, to get an ‘A’ in the class.

Examples of Conjunctive Adverbs

Some of the most common conjunctive adverbs are:

Accordingly Also
Anyhow Besides
Consequently Conversely
Finally Furthermore
Hence However
Indeed Instead
Likewise Meanwhile
Moreover Nevertheless
Next Otherwise
Similarly Still
Subsequently Then
Therefore Thus

Example Sentences Using Conjunctive Adverbs

Note that all of the above adverbs are words that connect ideas. A few sentence examples may help you in deciding how to use them.

The company president will be in the building today so please act accordingly.

I didn’t go shopping today. I didn’t have the money and I have plenty of clothes anyhow.

The city was unprepared for the big snowstorm. Consequently, all major highways were closed.

I’ve finished my work. Finally, I can go home.

Paul didn’t go to baseball practice yesterday, hence the missed play.

Alice is a clever girl indeed.

Erin finished her science essay; meanwhile, Eric worked on his math problems.

The resort doesn’t allow pets; otherwise, we would have brought our precious puppy with us.

The chicken was baking in the oven. Meanwhile, I peeled the potatoes.

The dog was rewarded with a treat; then, to the cat’s delight, he dropped it.

The above sentences demonstrate how conjunctive adverbs create smooth transitions between ideas. You can see how they show comparison, contrast, sequence, or cause-effect and usually occur between independent clauses or sentences. Once you recognize them and understand the punctuation rules for using conjunctive adverbs, you’re sentences will flow much more smoothly with clear, concise meaning.