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However, I will indeed, therefore, use conjunctive adverbs

Posted by Wendy Wood on 6th July , 2021 in Grammar
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I’m a grammar geek; I’ll admit it. This morning I sat down at my desk and tried to think of something to write for this Super Grammar. Two hours later I was still reading from the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS). Chapter 6 on punctuation draws me in every time. (It helps that I’ve consulted this chapter so many times, my book falls open to it.)

Sometimes CMOS seems to contradict itself. Take, for example, the rules about conjunctive adverbs such as however, therefore, and indeed. One rule tells us to use commas to set off these adverbs, another says commas are unnecessary, and yet another tells us to use a semicolon paired with a comma. Let’s look at these rules and some examples to help clear this up.

Use commas to set off conjunctive adverbs:

  • Indeed, not one student had the correct answer.
  • There was, however, no way to keep the dog from barking.

But commas are usually unnecessary when the adverb is essential to the meaning of the clause or if the emphasis is on the adverb itself:

  • He was indeed a good dog.
  • He cheated and was therefore flunked.

Precede certain adverbs with a semicolon when they are used to join two independent clauses. (These conjunctions include however, thus, hence, indeed, accordingly, besides, and therefore. A comma usually follows the adverb but may be omitted if the sentence is just as effective without it.)

  • Harry went swimming with friends instead of studying; besides, he’d long ago decided he couldn’t pass the class.
  • The couldn’t travel abroad; therefore, they made plans to visit California.
  • The singer had a horrible sore throat; therefore her third show was cancelled.

I know; I know. That’s a lot to remember and it’s probably still a bit confusing. Trust me; this is the reason my CMOS falls open to Chapter 6.

Wendy Wood


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