Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts

4.13: Transition Words Used as Conjunctive Adverbs versus Introducers and Interrupters

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    Transition Words Used as Conjunctive Adverbs
    Introducers and Interrupters

    The following is a list of some of the more common transitions words or phrases:
    accordingly,  also,  as a result,  besides,  consequently,  furthermore,  hence,  however,  indeed,  in fact,  still,  instead,  likewise,  meanwhile,  moreover,  nevertheless,  nonetheless, otherwise,  therefore,  thus,  unfortunately,  for example,  for instance,  in addition,  in contrast,  on the contrary,  on the other hand

    These words and expressions can function in two ways in English. 

    1.  They can join compound sentences.  When they do this, on both sides of them there is a complete sentence.  They are then true conjunctive adverbs because they join sentences.  When using them as conjunctive adverbs, put a semicolon in front of them and a comma after them.

    For example:

    I like to stay up late at night; in fact, I rarely go to bed before 1:00 AM.
    My brother never left home; in contrast, I left home when I was 22.
    Riding motorcycles is a dangerous and foolish thing to do; nonetheless, I used to love to ride them fast and foolishly.
    He won a lot of money; accordingly, he bought a new house.
    You had better start doing your work; otherwise, you will fail the course.

    2.  These same words can also be used as either introducers or interrupters in sentences.  When they are used in this way, they do not join sentences; they simply help to make the writing more easily understandable for the reader.  They help to guide the reader and help in comprehension. 

    For example:

    I want to buy a new car.  However, I don't have enough money to do so. In fact, I have $575.
    The girl may not be beautiful.  She is, however, very intelligent.  In addition, she is very wealthy.I don't care about becoming rich, unfortunately.  My wife, however, wishes we had a lot more money.
    I don’t have much hair on the top of my head.  On the other hand, I have a lot on my face.
    She thought I didn’t like ice cream.  On the contrary, I love ice cream.
    I never used to like to eat vegetables when I was a boy.  In contrast, I love to eat vegetables now.
    My mother was a hairdresser.  Likewise, my sister is a hairdresser.

    Notice how in the second set of examples, the conjunctive adverbs don't join sentences, but rather they introduce a sentence or interrupt the flow of a sentence so that the sense of the sentence is more easily understood by the reader. 

    Furthermore, notice the difference in punctuation.  When the words are used as true conjunctive adverbs, the writer must use a semicolon in front of them and a comma in back of them.  However, when they are used as introducers to a sentence or interrupters of a sentence, commas set them off.

    • Was this article helpful?