Writers Workshop: Writer Resources
Grammar Handbook: Conjunctive Adverbs
A conjunctive adverb is an adverb that connects independent clauses. Some of the most common conjunctive adverbs are: however, moreover, nevertheless and therefore. See below for more on usage, common pitfalls, and flexibility of conjunctive adverbs.
Conjunctive adverbs require semicolons:
- "The operation will probably be successful; however, I should tell you I'm nervous about performing it," said Dr. Gonzo.
Conjunctive adverbs are often confused with coordinating conjunctions such as: and, but, for, nor, or, yet, or while. One difference is that coordinating conjunctions join clauses of equal rank and conjunctive adverbs do not. Another difference is that conjunctive adverbs are not true linking devices themselves, as indicated by their needing semicolons:
- I don't have enough butter for my batter; therefore, I'll buy butter to make my batter better.
The flexibility of the conjunctive adverb in the sentence also indicates they aren't true linking devices like coordinating conjunctions. For example, the second part of this sentence could also be written:
- ...I will therefore buy some butter to make my batter better.