Conjunctive adverbs act as conjunctions because they connect independent clauses. They act as adverbs because they also modify one of the independent clauses.
- We spent the afternoon in the park; later, we went for a bicycle ride by the lake.
- The kiln was broken; consequently, we could not finish our ceramics project.
Some common conjunctive adverbs include the following:
- for example, for instance
Conjunctive adverbs only connect independent clauses; that is, clauses that can stand on their own as complete thoughts. Conjunctive adverbs are usually preceded by a semicolon and followed by a comma.
- I would like to buy a new car; however, I will settle for a used one.
- You need to study more; otherwise, you will flunk calculus.
If the two independent clauses are very short and closely related, it is also acceptable to use a comma rather than a semicolon before the conjunctive adverb, and no comma after it.
The same idea expressed by a conjunctive adverb can often be expressed by a coordinating conjunction.
- I would like to buy a new car, but I will settle for a used one.
The choice between conjunctive adverbs and coordinating conjunctions is purely a matter of style and personal preference. Conjunctive adverbs tend to sound more formal than coordinating conjunctions.
- I could not find your house; therefore, I called to ask for directions.
- I could not find your house, so I called to ask for directions.
Independent clauses joined by conjunctive adverbs can also be separated into complete sentences by placing a period after the first independent clause.
- I could not find your house. Therefore, I called to ask for directions.