Conjunctive adverbs can be very useful in writing when used properly. The issue, however, is knowing how to properly place them in your sentences.  They are very similar to coordinating conjunctions (FAN BOYSfor, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) in that they connect to independent clauses, but the correct punctuation is different.




Unlike coordinating conjunctions (of which there are only seven), a great number of conjunctive adverbs exist that express a variety of meanings. Using coordinating conjunctions therefore allows writers to vary their writing while being more precise.


These include (but are not limited to):

  • Illustrative – for example, incidentally, in other words, specifically;
  • Additive – in addition, furthermore, moreover;
  • Cause-effect – because of this, accordingly, consequently, therefore;
  • Adversative – however, instead, nevertheless, rather, unfortunately;
  • Temporal – first, second, third, at that time, finally, next, in conclusion.




Conjunctive adverbs join two independent clauses that can be separated by either a period or a semi-colon, but NOT by a comma. The second clause contains the conjunctive adverb, which can be placed in one of three places:

1.      at the beginning of the clause,

2.      in the middle of the clause (generally after the subject or an introductory phrase),

3.      at the end of the clause.


For example,

1.      However, the sun would rise again over the land of lost lunches.

2.      The sun, however, would rise again over the land of lost lunches.

3.      The sun would rise again over the land of lost lunches, however.


Usually, the most logical option is usually to place the adverb at the beginning of the clause since it links back to the first clause and gives the reader a smooth transition.


More often than not, the conjunctive adverb should be separated from the rest of the clause by one or two commas depending on its position in the sentence (see the examples above). Still, in some instances this is not required. For example:

  • He therefore decided to climb atop the dragon and fly to the cavern of curiosities.


Use your own judgement to decide whether or not to place commas. TRICK: Usually, if you say the sentence aloud you will naturally pause where commas should be placed in writing. Sometimes both options (placing or not placing the commas) are correct, and this means writers can punctuate as they see fit.




In spite of this, however is a bit of a special case. Since it could potentially be read as a normal adverb (i.e. meaning “in whatever way” or to whatever degree,” for example, “However you decide to do it, I am sure you will reach the summit of Mount Wannahawkalooguee”), it should always be separated from the rest of the clause with commas when used as a conjunctive adverb.




Be wary of this guy; he’s a bit of a trickster. Many people wrongly use as such as a conjunctive adverb to mean “that being the case.” As such   cannot be used in this way  . In this phrase, as is a preposition and such is a pronoun requiring a clear noun antecedent (i.e. it must reference a noun that comes directly before it). For example,

  • Incorrect: The koala store was closed by the time we arrived. As such, we decided to take a trip to Australia to find one ourselves.
  • Correct: The crowned King of corruption was a horrible fellow. As such (i.e. as a horrible fellow), his breath was stinky and his teeth rotten and yellow.






Link the following independent clauses properly with conjunctive adverbs.


1. He ate the entire two-story apple pie by himself. He now feels quite ill.

Sample answer


2. Ronald the dog enjoys wearing a tailcoat and top hat. He tap-dances quite well.

Sample answer


3. The heat made the sweets swell and sweat. The giant jelly donut exploded.

Sample answer


4. Adam and Eve thought the garden was dandy. A snake convinced them to change their perspective.

Sample answer


5. Many teenagers use drugs recreationally. Many others do not.

Sample answer


6. He has celestial powers. He doesn’t need luck.

Sample answer


7. Fireworks are fun. They can be dangerous.

Sample answer


8. I like colourful birds very much. I especially like peacocks and parrots.

Sample answer


9. We went to a mountain rooftop for breakfast. We climbed down the mountain to have a picnic for lunch.

Sample answer


10. He had no desire to eat the green eggs and ham. Sam I am was persistent.

Sample answer






Einsohn, Amy. The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2006.


Flick, Jane and Celia Millward. Handbook for Writers. 3rd Canadian ed. Toronto: Harcourt Brace & Company, Ltd., 1999.


Messenger, William E. et al. The Canadian Writer’s Handbook. 5th ed. Toronto: Oxford University Press Canada, 2008.


Riley, Kathryn, et al. Revising Professional Writing in Science and Technology, Business, and the Social Sciences. Superior, Wisc.: Parlay Press, 1999.


The Chicago Manual of Style. 15th ed. rev. and expanded. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.



Created by: Diana Franz