How do you punctuate however, therefore, moreover and furthermore?
Reader’s question: I would like to know the appropriate punctuation when using the words however, therefore, moreover and furthermore.
Answer: How you punctuate these words depends on their position and function within the sentence.
My guidelines for words such as however, therefore, moreover and furthermore are as follows.
At the beginning of a sentence
If you use these words at the beginning of a sentence, put a comma after them.
However, we still have hope.
Therefore, we will proceed with the order.
Moreover, the managers agree.
Furthermore, you know it’s true.
Some modern writers are now dropping the comma, but I still like it because it indicates a pause.
A traditional rule stated that however meaning ‘nevertheless’ should not be used at the beginning of a sentence. Most style guides consider this rule old-fashioned.
In this position in a sentence, however, therefore, moreover and therefore are adverbs.
Joining two independent clauses
Use a semicolon and comma with however, moreover, therefore and furthermore to introduce a new independent clause in a sentence. (An independent clause is a group of words that contains a subject and verb and expresses a complete thought.)
We plan to stay for another year; however, Peter is leaving now.
You get immediate access when you purchase an online course; therefore, you can start today.
Swimming is against the rules; moreover, it’s dangerous.
She always meets her deadlines; furthermore, her work is good.
When these words join two independent clauses they are known as adverbial conjuncts (or conjunctive adverbs) because they are adverbs acting as conjunctions.
Some writers are now treating however, therefore, moreover and furthermore as conjunctions and just using a comma.
We plan to stay for another year, however Peter is leaving now.
My preference is to use a semicolon and comma, or rewrite the sentence.
We plan to stay for another year, but Peter is leaving now.
We plan to stay another year. However, Peter is leaving now.
To intensify or for emphasis
When you use however, furthermore, moreover or therefore as intensifiers or for emphasis, we usually put commas around both sides of them.
We, however, do not agree with the verdict.
You can, therefore, do whatever you like.
It is, moreover, true.
The vegetables, furthermore, are good for you.
However as a conjunction
You can also use however as a conjunction to mean ‘by whatever means’.
I don’t care however you do it, just get it done.
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