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4th year projects in 2005: Grammar Help "However"


This page is to help Fourth Year Research Project students in the CSSE School with a finer point of grammar which may be relevant to their theses.
There are other grammar topics dealt with here.

However

Examples of incorrect use

B1)
I would like to finish my thesis, however there is cricket on TV.

Examples of correct use

G1)
I would like to finish my thesis. However, there is cricket on TV.

G2)
I would like to finish my thesis. There is, however, cricket on TV.

G3)
I would like to finish my thesis. There is cricket on TV, however.

G4)
I would like to finish my thesis; however, there is cricket on TV.

G5)
I would like to finish my thesis but there is cricket on TV.

General information

"However" is a connecting adverb meaning "nevertheless, in spite of that, etc". It is not  a conjunction so it is not able to join two sentences to make a longer one.
That is the mistake in B1 above. B1 is called a "run on" error.

"However" used correctly in a sentence will suggest that that sentence disagrees in sense somewhat with the preceeding sentences: see G1, G2 and G3.

You may use a semicolon to join two separate but related sentences such as in G4.
 As in G5, you may use "but" to join two sentences which disagree to make one longer sentence.

The New Fowler's "Modern English Usage" (Oxford, 1998) says:
"Avoid at all costs the illiteracy of using however as a simple substitute for but, or of allowing a sentence to run on when
However should have had a capital H at the start of a new sentence."

Some links to relevant sources

There is a good exercise at http://www.writing.eng.vt.edu/exercises/grammar1.html

See http://www.fortunecity.com/bally/durrus/153/gramch28.html

See http://www.uvsc.edu/owl/handouts/revised%20handouts/grammar%20and%20usage/conjunctions.pdf

See http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/runons.htm




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