Conjunctive Adverb: Examples, Lesson & Quiz
In this lesson, we will learn about the conjunctive adverb. The conjunctive adverb joins either phrases or clauses together in a sentence. The conjunctive adverb connects the thoughts in one part of the sentence to another part of a sentence and shows a relationship between them.
The conjunctive adverb is a word that joins one part of a sentence to another part of a sentence. It also may begin or end a sentence. It often provides a seamless 'transition' from one idea to another and shows a relationship between the two parts of the sentence. Sometimes, the conjunctive adverb demonstrates cause and effect.
Here is a list of commonly used conjunctive adverbs, but there are more!
nevertheless, meanwhile, incidentally, however, next, similarly, therefore, thus, also, finally, moreover, now, indeed, instead, hence, otherwise, besides, certainly, still, consequently
Phrases and Clauses
In this section, we will take a look at how conjunctive adverbs are used in sentences. But before we begin, let's review the difference between a phrase and a clause. A phrase is a group of words that does not have both a subject and a verb; a clause is a group of words that has both a subject and a verb, but it may or may not be able to stand alone as a complete thought. In sentences, conjunctive adverbs can introduce either phrases or clauses. They also connect those phrases or clauses to other phrases or clauses in the sentence.
Examples with Semicolons
How are conjunctive adverbs used in sentences? First, a conjunctive adjective can be used after a semicolon to begin a new sentence. The terrific thing about a conjunctive adverb is that it provides a smooth, connective transition from one sentence to the other. Here is an example:
'Mike joined the Coast Guard; therefore, he had his education expenses covered.' The first sentence, 'Mike joined the Coast Guard,' is the cause of the effect of having his education expenses covered. The word 'therefore' shows us that there is a cause and an effect.
Let's try another sentence:
'Marley ate five pancakes; hence, she has a terrible stomach ache.'
Again, we see this direct cause and effect relationship between eating the pancakes and getting a stomach ache. The conjunctive adverb 'hence' establishes this relationship. Notice that a comma is needed after we use this type of conjunctive adverb.
Examples of Introductory Conjunctive Adverbs
A conjunctive adverb may also introduce a sentence. It still plays its role of connecting ideas, but it takes a different position in the associated sentences. Here is an example.
'Jean barely studied for her test. Nevertheless, she passed with flying colors.'
The conjunctive adverb 'nevertheless' begins the sentence, but it still establishes a relationship between the two sentences. Let's try another one.
'Monarch butterflies migrate to the same locations each year. Moreover, they gather in bunches on branches.'
Once again, we see the conjunctive adjective starting the second sentence. It is important to note once again that a comma is needed after we use introductory conjunctive adjectives.
Conjunctive adverbs may also end sentences. When this happens, the comma comes before the conjunctive adverb. Take a look at this sentence to see how it works:
'Jessika made it to the finish line, finally.' See how the conjunctive adverb is set apart from the sentence, much like the introductory words, but at the end, instead.
Conjunctive Adverbs Midstream
Sometimes, a conjunctive adverb appears in the middle of a sentence. When this happens, the word usually needs to be set off by commas. This shows that the conjunctive adverb is not necessary to the meaning of the sentence. We may use it 'midstream' when we are joining sentences to words or phrases, but not clauses. However, sometimes the conjunctive adverb may not need to be set off by commas if it seems awkward to do so. Here are a few examples of conjunctive adverbs used midstream:
'Jane is coming, consequently, uninvited.'
'You will find the arrow pointing, now, to the north.'
'I only have five dollars. I will therefore have to order off the Dollar Menu.' (If we set the word 'therefore' off in commas, it would awkwardly stop the flow of the sentence. We just have to use our best judgment in this case when deciding whether or not commas are necessary.)
Conjunctive adverbs provide connective words between ideas in sentences and establish a relationship between phrases and clauses. They help us write more cohesive sentences and paragraphs.
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