Headword
Connective adverb
Level
D
Language
English
Topic
Grammar
Definition
As their name suggests, connective adverbs provide a link between different clauses or sentences.
Notes
Connective adverbs, along with conjunctions and some prepositional phrases, link clauses by signalling the relationship between them. The links can be understood as exemplification (‘namely’), sequencing (‘secondly’), reason (‘so’), result (‘consequently’), comparison (‘likewise’), addition (‘moreover’), concession (‘nevertheless’), correction (‘rather’), dismissal (‘anyhow’), reinforcement (‘besides’), time reference (‘meanwhile’).

Because they connect clauses, adverbs like however and nevertheless are sometimes confused with conjunctions like but and and. However, the punctuation used with connective adverbs and conjunctions differs. There might or might not be a comma before a conjunction that links clauses, and no punctuation mark after it. When a connective adverb is used, a semi-colon or a full-stop should indicate where the first clause ends, and there should be one or two commas separating the adverb from the rest of the second clause. Note the following possibilities:

He risked great personal danger to save the child; therefore, he was awarded a medal.

He risked great personal danger to save the child. He was, therefore, awarded a medal.

He risked great personal danger to save the child; he was awarded a medal, therefore.

Unlike conjunctions, adverbs can often be moved around a sentence. Compare

He was a trained electrician, but he got a nasty shock.

He was a trained electrician; however, he got a nasty shock.

‘*He was a trained electrician; he got a nasty shock, but.

‘He was a trained electrician; he got a nasty shock, however.

In Scotland, you might hear ‘but’ at the end of a sentence. In such cases, it is no longer a conjunction. Instead it is an interjection, signalling that the speaker has finished giving some information. When used as a conjunction, ‘but’, like ‘however’ and ‘nevertheless’, signals a concession.

Compare
Concept
Categorisation
See also
Adverb, Attitude adverb, Circumstance adverb,Conjunction, Semi-colon