Learning about conjunctions can really improve your game when learning English. The word “however” is an important conjunction to understand (and perhaps one of the most common). We use it at the start of a sentence or in the middle, so let’s see how we do so!
How To Use However In The Middle Of A Sentence
We use “however” in the middle of a sentence when it is linking two clauses together. If the two clauses are closely related, “however” is used as a coordinating conjunction and often separated by commas or semi-colons to fit in the flow of the sentence.
When we use “however” in the middle of a sentence, it’s important to understand the punctuation rules. You’re always going to need to include some punctuation when writing “however.” If you leave it without anything, then your sentence will feel wordy and difficult to read.
There is one main option for punctuating “however.” You can use a semi-colon before it and a comma after. The semi-colon breaks up the flow from the first clause, allowing the reader a second to gather their thoughts. The comma starts the new clause.
- Incorrect:People thought hard about it however there wasn’t much to think about.
- Incorrect:People thought hard about it, however there wasn’t much to think about.
- Correct:People thought hard about it; however, there wasn’t much to think about.
All of these sentences are the same (to help you understand the differences). The first one uses no punctuation, and you can see how wordy and difficult it is to understand.
The second sentence uses one comma before “however.” The idea is to break up the two clauses, which on paper is smart, but it isn’t executed correctly here.
Finally, the correct sentence comes with a semi-colon before “however” and a comma after. The semi-colon breaks up the two connected clauses to help with understanding. “However” stands alone as a coordinating conjunction, meaning a comma needs to come directly after it before the new clause makes sense.
- People thought hard about it. There wasn’t much to think about.
This is what the sentences look like without “however” in the middle. They still make perfect sense; they just need a bit more of a connection between them.
Examples Of Using However In The Middle Of A Sentence
We’ve shown off one example (as well as some incorrect punctuation variations); now it’s time to show you a few more. We’ll try and include as many as we can think of that gives you a good variety of when the word works best in the middle of a sentence.
- You can’t find the correct answer; however, you’ve been studying for months.
- Some people disagree with me; however, I know I’m right.
- This isn’t the correct building; however, I think the one across the street is.
- You’re not going to find anything there; however, you can keep trying if it makes you feel better.
- There aren’t many good people left in the world; however, I met a wonderful man on the bus today.
- They say that chivalry is dead; however, my father taught me the proper values.
- My father passed away last week; however, he left me a considerable sum of money and his house.
- I think she likes me; however, she’s still in a relationship with him.
- My mom told me to do my chores; however, I left the house before I got a chance.
See how we use the semi-colon in each of these cases to break up the flow of the two sentences. Every one of these examples can remove “however” from the middle of the sentence and be left as two standalone sentences.
We include “however” in the middle to help with the sentence structure and flow. It makes it easier to read, and we introduce “however” when two contrasting clauses are close together.
Step-By-Step Guide: How To Break A Sentence With However
Now that we’ve seen “however” in action in the middle of a sentence, it’s time to look at a breakdown of how you might want to do it yourself. Remember, you can’t just throw “however” between any two sentences for it to make sense.
To use “however” appropriately, it must come between two contrasting yet closely related ideas in two sentences. Any sentences that can’t connect in that way will use “however” incorrectly.
Using “however” to break a sentence works like this:
- Start with two closely related yet contrasting sentences.
- “I like ice cream. I’m allergic to ice cream.”
- Put “however” between the two words.
- “I like ice cream however I’m allergic to ice cream.”
- Include the correct punctuation (semi-colon) to break up the two clauses.
- “I like ice cream; however I’m allergic to ice cream.”
- Put a comma after “however” to show it as a coordinating conjunction.
- “I like ice cream; however, I’m allergic to ice cream.”
- Bonus Step: if the two phrases use the same object (ice cream), you can remove it for sentence flow.
- “I like ice cream; however, I’m allergic.”
What Alternatives Do I Have To Using However In The Middle Of A Sentence?
If you don’t want to use “however” in the middle of a sentence, you have other options. If you’re struggling with the language rules around it, though, you might find that you have a tricky time with these alternatives too.
Since each of these is used as a coordinating conjunction, you’ll still need to punctuate your sentences correctly. Still, it’s a good idea to have a range of conjunctions ready, so you don’t always use “however” to introduce contrasting points.
The simplest of the conjunctions that can replace “however.” It works to introduce a contrasting point in the same way.
- Use “however” at the start of a sentence.
Rather than connecting two clauses, you can start the second sentence with “however.” You still need to follow it with a comma, though.
Another good conjunction that replaces the meaning of “however.” It’s on par with “but,” and the two work well with each other.
You might also like:
Can You Start A Sentence With “However”? Learn It Here! (With Examples)
Can You End A Sentence With “However”? Learn It Here! (With Examples)
9 Words To Use Instead Of “However” (With Examples)
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.