A conjunctive adverb connects two independent clauses or sentences. Typically, adverbs modify other words (verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs). Conjunctive adverbs, however, are used to modify two independent clauses and join them together, behaving more like coordinating conjunctions.
These adverbs are aptly named because “conjunctive” comes from the Latin word for “join together.” Let’s take a closer look at these adverbs in action.
A conjunctive adverb, which can also be called an adverbial conjunction, brings together two complete thoughts. Each clause would be able to stand on its own as a separate sentence. A conjunctive adverb then provides a smooth transition from one thought to the next.
Typically, the first clause is followed by a semicolon. Conjunctive adverbs are not strong enough to join two clauses without some punctuation. Then, there’s usually a comma after the conjunctive adverb.
Conjunctive adverbs show contrast, comparison, and other types of relationships, so it can help to group them according to each function. This may help you understand them better:
Sometimes, the function of conjunctive adverbs is addition. Examples include:
Sometimes, the function of conjunctive adverbs is comparison. Examples include:
Conjunctive adverbs also signify concession. Examples include:
Conjunctive adverbs also demonstrate contrast. Examples include:
Sometimes, the function of conjunctive adverbs is emphasis. Examples include:
Sometimes, conjunctive adverbs illustrate a point. Examples include:
Conjunctive adverbs also summarize. Examples include:
Finally, conjunctive adverbs may also signify time. Examples include:
Basically, when you see an adverb connecting ideas, rather than modifying words, it’s a conjunctive adverb. Let’s take a look at them in action:
Conjunctive adverbs can sometimes work as a regular adverb, modifying a verb, adjective, or another adverb. In this case, they don’t need extra punctuation.
Here’s an example:
“He was accordingly very interested in jazz.”
In this sentence the word “accordingly” is acting like an adverb and modifying the adjective “interested.”
Many times, a conjunctive adverb will start or end a sentence. At the beginning of a sentence it may need a comma after it since it appears before an independent clause. Here are some examples:
Remember, adverbs change or modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. Many end with "-ly," making them easy to spot, however, some adverbs stray from the -ly commonality, especially conjunctive adverbs.
Review our downloadable list to get to grips with conjunctive adverbs. It offers a comprehensive selection of conjunctive adverbs that will allow you to express your thoughts with complex grammatical efficiency.