‘However’ or ‘How Ever’: Unveiling the Correct Usage

Marcus Froland

Fluent in American English, are you? It is essential to adhere to grammatical guidelines when constructing sentences and organizing your thoughts. Today, we will be focusing on the correct usage of “however” versus “how ever,” two terms that are often misunderstood or misused. As you progress in improving your writing skills, you will appreciate the importance of language rules and the profound impact they have on effective communication.

Understanding ‘However’ as a Conjunctive Adverb

The conjunctive adverb, “however,” is integral to the world of grammar. Its role in sentence structure, punctuation, and clause connection contributes to both sentence fluency and coherence. When used correctly, “however” aids in linking contrasting statements and enhancing overall writing mechanics. In this section, we will explore the grammatical function of “however” and compare its usage to coordinating conjunctions like “but.”

The Role of ‘However’ in Connecting Clauses

As a conjunctive adverb, “however” effectively bridges independent clauses by providing a contrast or presenting new information. This versatile term allows writers to create complex, compound sentences that highlight different points of view or add nuance to an argument. When using “however,” it is essential to remember that it signifies the statement following it will either oppose or elaborate upon the preceding statement. The strategic use of “however” demonstrates an ability to navigate sentence conjoining artfully and enhances the meaning conveyed in the text.

Proper Punctuation When Using ‘However’

Correct punctuation is essential when utilizing “however” in your writing. In most cases, writers should place a semicolon or period before “however” and a comma after it to maintain clarity in a compound sentence. It is crucial to avoid common punctuation errors such as comma splices, which can confuse readers and undermine the overall structure of the sentence. By mastering the proper punctuation rules, you can ensure that your use of “however” enhances your writing and conforms to the rules of grammar.

‘However’ Versus Coordinating Conjunctions

It is essential not to confuse “however” with coordinating conjunctions such as “but.” While both serve to connect clauses, they have distinct grammatical functions and require different punctuation. Unlike “but,” which needs only a comma when separating clauses within a compound sentence, “however” requires both a semicolon (or period) before and a comma after to connect two independent clauses.

Some examples include:

  • Jane loves dogs; however, she is allergic to them.
  • Tom studied hard for the exam; however, he still did not pass.

These sentences contrast with examples using “but”:

  • Jane loves dogs, but she is allergic to them.
  • Tom studied hard for the exam, but he still did not pass.

By understanding the difference between “however” and coordinating conjunctions, you can enhance the fluency, precision, and impact of your writing.

Correct Placement of ‘However’ Within Sentences

The placement of “however” within a sentence can significantly affect its meaning, impact, and emphasis in writing. A proper understanding of its placement helps to ensure smooth sentence flow while avoiding unwanted clause interruption. Generally, “however” can be used in the beginning, middle (infix), or end (terminal) of a sentence to introduce contradiction or change in point while adapting to different punctuation styles as the position demands.

Correct usage of “however” in various positions within a sentence greatly influences the clarity and effectiveness of your writing.

When “however” is placed at the beginning of a sentence, it presents a contrast or change in point with respect to the preceding sentence. In such cases, “however” should be followed by a comma:

Example: She wanted to complete her work early. However, she felt extremely tired and decided to rest first.

In an infix position, “however” is nestled within a sentence and usually set off by commas, emphasizing a shift or related idea:

Example: The movie was, however, not as interesting as she had hoped it would be.

Lastly, when “however” is used as a terminal modifier, it often signifies a trailing thought or afterthought:

Example: She couldn’t help but sneak a peek at her new roommate’s belongings, however.

Keep in mind that while such usages of “however” are commonly accepted, it’s essential to pay attention to clarity, sentence structure, and proper punctuation to ensure your writing is both accurate and engaging.

  1. When starting a sentence with “however”, always use a comma after “however”.
  2. Use commas to surround “however” when placing it in the middle of a sentence.
  3. In a terminal position, “however” can be followed by a period or used with a comma to introduce an afterthought.

The sentence placement of “however” is crucial for showcasing a contrast or shift in thought, emphasizing a point, or revealing an afterthought. By following these guidelines, you can effectively use “however” to enrich your writing with meaningful connections, clarity, and impact.

Exploring the Nuances of ‘However’ in Different Contexts

As a fundamental element in the English language, “however” possesses a unique capacity to present contrasting statements and introduce twists in a narrative. It exhibits grammatical variability and versatility, making it adaptable to various contexts depending on the writer’s intent. In this section, we will discuss the nuances of using “however” at the beginning of a sentence, following a semicolon, and within parenthetical expressions.

‘However’ at the Start of a Sentence

When placed at the beginning of a sentence, “however” functions as a signal for a counterpoint or shift in the narrative. Ideal for highlighting the contrast between sentences, it requires a comma immediately afterward to alert the reader and maintain the sentence rhythm. For example:

Mary enjoys the smell of freshly ground coffee; however, she prefers the taste of tea.

The use of “however” at the start of the sentence enhances the strength of the contrasting statement, emphasizing the disparate taste preferences.

‘However’ and the Semicolon

In compound sentences with contrasting ideas, “however” assumes its role as a conjunctive adverb by following a semicolon. This presence of a semicolon helps to separate the independent clauses while preserving their thematic connection.

  1. The weather forecast predicted rain in the afternoon; however, the sun shone all day long.
  2. Rachel thought she had failed the test; however, she received the highest score in class.

The examples above illustrate how “however” complements the semicolon in showcasing contrasting thoughts within compound sentences, thus establishing continuity rather than separation by a period.

Using ‘However’ to Express an Aside

At times, “however” can be inserted within a sentence, functioning as a parenthetical expression. By doing so, it emphasizes an embedded contradiction or counterpoint that adds an unexpected twist.

John, however, did not share Jane’s enthusiasm for hiking.

The inclusion of “however” within the clause highlights the contrast between the two subject’s preferences without interrupting the primary message. Observing the appropriate punctuation, like using commas to bracket the term, is also crucial in this context.

By understanding the subtle contextual nuances and correct application of “however” in a variety of sentence structures, you can enhance your writing style and convey your thoughts effectively. Developing this skill involves paying close attention to punctuation, positioning, and the mellifluous ebb of your sentence rhythms.

Navigating the Common Misuses of ‘However’

One of the most common challenges faced by writers is mastering the appropriate use of ‘however.’ Errors frequently arise from treating it as a direct replacement for coordinating conjunctions, resulting in grammatical missteps and unclear expression. In this section, we will explore some of the most common misuses of ‘however’ and offer editing tips to help you avoid these pitfalls and ensure your writing is polished and precise.

Punctuation Errors: Comma Splices

When using ‘however’ to connect independent clauses, one should always use a semicolon or period before the word and a comma after it. Many writers mistakenly use a comma instead of a semicolon or period, creating a comma splice. This error can lead to unclear and awkward sentences. It is crucial to recognize the need for a stronger division between the clauses to maintain the flow and clarity of your writing.

Incorrect: I wanted to go for a walk, however, it started raining.
Correct: I wanted to go for a walk; however, it started raining.

Incorrect Conjunction Use

‘However’ is not a direct replacement for coordinating conjunctions like ‘but’ and should not be used as such. While both words might convey a sense of contrast or opposition, they serve different grammatical functions and require distinct punctuation. Using ‘however’ in place of ‘but’ can result in unclear or confusing sentences with incorrect punctuation.

Incorrect: I wanted to go for a walk, however it started raining.
Correct: I wanted to go for a walk, but it started raining.

  1. Editing Tips for Correct ‘However’ Usage
  2. Always use a semicolon or period before ‘however’ when connecting independent clauses.
  3. Ensure a comma follows ‘however’ when introducing a contrasting idea.
  4. Do not substitute ‘however’ for coordinating conjunctions like ‘but.’
  5. Proofread your text carefully to identify and correct any misuses of ‘however’ and other grammatical errors.

By understanding the correct use of ‘however,’ you can avoid common errors, enhance the clarity and expression of your writing, and maintain proper conjunction use. With thoughtful editing and attention to detail, mastery of this versatile adverb is within your reach.

The Correct Use of ‘However’ Versus ‘How Ever’

Understanding when to use the term “however” and not “how ever” is critical to achieving grammatical accuracy, language proficiency, and expressive clarity in your writing. While “however” is recognized as a conjunctive adverb and adverb in standard English, “how ever” with a space is uncommon and does not fit into a specific grammatical purpose. Prioritizing the correct word selection ensures the production of polished and coherent text, adhering to the rules of language precision.

Choosing “however” instead of “how ever” is essential when you need to convey a precise contradiction, transition, or manner of an action within a sentence. The proper understanding of “however” as both a conjunctive adverb and adverb emphasizes the importance of using it correctly over the separate and often incorrect usage of “how ever”. This distinction showcases your mastery of standard English mechanics and the ability to clearly communicate complex thoughts.

Examining examples that demonstrate the correct usage of “however” helps to emphasize its role in creating contrast or showing exceptions and reinforces its versatility in crafting complex and nuanced sentences. Contextual examples, using illustrative sentences, and learning by example can enhance your understanding of “however” and its correct application. Appropriate punctuation ensures clear communication of your thoughts and ideas while adhering to proper grammatical guidelines.