conjunction · ESL grammar · Grammar

How to Use However

This article is not for beginning learners of English!

However is used a lot in formal language, especially in writing.

I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps. Mahatma Gandhi

Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever. Lance Armstrong

You use however to contrast two things that are different or contradictory (one is black, but the other is white). However means “but.”

“However” is more formal than “but.”

The second difference is that “however” can start a sentence. To start a sentence with “but” is not very elegant, is it? But you will see it many times. 🙂

Here are some examples of correct sentences with “however:”

Exertia may be a good company to work for. However, it depends on your expectations.

Cavendish was the favourite for the Olympic cycling race. However, he didn’t even come into reach for a medal.

No pathological indications were found. However, to rule out any risks, taking an MRI is recommended.

Note: “However” is usually followed by a comma (,).

In the examples above, “however” comes at the start of the sentence. This isn’t a fixed rule, because “however” can also be placed in the middle or at the end of the sentence.

Here are some examples of that:

In each of our own lives comes a point, however, at which we start thinking about what we’ve accomplished so far.

Enlightenment, however, didn’t come to Buddha when he was starving himself almost to death.

I thought it would be impossible to finish the job; I did it, however.

finish the job

Now you can do a couple of Exercises.

Exercise I

Combine the following sentences by putting in “however.” You don’t have to make one sentence. You can insert “however” at the beginning of a sentence, in the middle or at the end.

Example: Globalization can help people develop their skills. In reality, it often deprives them of chances.

Your sentences could be like this:

A Globalization can help people develop their skills. In reality, however, it often deprives them of chances.

Or: B Globalization can help people develop their skills. However, in reality, it often deprives them of chances.

Putting “however” at the end is also possible, although it’s not the most elegant solution: C Globalization can help people develop their skills. In reality, it often deprives them of chances however.

Now it’s your turn!

1 The famous chef joined in a protest to boycott shops that pay farmers below a fair price. In his TV Show, the chef was seen to use the cheap products that were bought at one of these shops.

2 Creams don’t claim to make skin younger. The newest creams are so scientific that they do just that.

3 Many people in the world cannot afford the latest mobile phones. There are shops that offer mobile phones that are built from old phones for every budget.

4 Universities are not allowed to reject students based on income. The tuition fees are so high that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are unable to enrol.

5 Students graduating in the medical sciences were the first to find jobs. For some of them it meant they had to immigrate to another country.

6 Credit card readers in shops and restaurants are supposed to be safe. Now it turns out that they are vulnerable to hacking.

7 The marathon runner wanted to be in her best shape ever when she started the Olympics. Because of an unhealed injury to her foot she was forced to pull out.

8 Only 49 percent of the voters cast their ballots. Of those, 60 percent voted against the government.

The answers are at the end of this page.

picassoPicasso, however

Now for Exercise II

You can do this exercise online here.

Read the following sentences with however. Decide whether however is in a correct place in the sentence. Here are two examples:

Example A: We live in colourful universe, however many people think that as soon as we leave our Earth everything around us is black.

Is however in the right place?

Answer: yes, it is.

Example B: Many phenomena above our heads are painted in the brightest hues*, such as however nebulae, rainbows and aurorae.

*Hue is another word for colour.

Is however in the right place?

Answer: nope, it’s not.

Now you try these ones.

1 However if you think the Moon is a dullish grey colour, you’re completely right.

However is in the right place.

Hm, however doesn’t look good here.

2 Our sky looks blue most of the time, however as the day draws to a close the sinking sun will scatter particles of light along a much longer way making them appear orange, red, yellow and even green.

However is in the right place.

Hm, however doesn’t look good here.

3 A sun dog however is not easily photographed and it can only be observed when the light shines through ice crystals.

However is not in the right place.

However is in the right place, but it needs commas on both sides.

4 However you are lucky when you see the light refracted through raindrops, in which case you’ll get a rainbow.

However is in the right place.

However is not in the right place.

5 Rainbows are lovely, however they’re gone after a minute.

However is in the right place, but the punctuation isn’t perfect.

However is not in the right place.

6 Zodiacal dust is a glow that can only be captured at night; however, it needs to be really dark.

However is in the right place.

However is in the right place, but the comma is unnecessary.

7 Many bodies in the sky show however vivid colours, if they are far away you can’t see them with the naked eye.

However is in the right place.

However is not in the right place.

8 There is ample colour between the stars, the colours we see in images of space are often however false colours.

However is in the right place.

However is not in the right place.

9 However, even when true colours are used, differences in our retinas cause us to see the colours differently anyhow.

However is totally right here.

However shouldn’t be in this spot.

 

nebula

Answers to Exercise I: 

1 The famous chef joined in a protest to boycott shops that pay farmers below a fair price. In his TV Show, however, the chef was seen to use the cheap products that were bought at one of these shops.

2 Creams don’t claim to make skin younger. However, the newest creams are so scientific that they do just that.

3 Many people in the world cannot afford the latest mobile phones. There are shops, however, that offer mobile phones that are built from old phones for every budget.

4 Universities are not allowed to reject students based on income. However, the tuition fees are so high that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are unable to enrol.

5 Students graduating in the medical sciences were the first to find jobs. However, for some of them it meant they had to immigrate to another country.

6 Credit card readers in shops and restaurants are supposed to be safe. Now it turns out, however, that they are vulnerable to hacking.

7 The marathon runner wanted to be in her best shape ever when she started the Olympics. However, because of an unhealed injury to her foot she was forced to pull out.

8 Only 49 percent of the voters cast their ballots. However, of those, 60 percent voted against the government.

More Practice

However, Whenever, However and Suchlike

In case you’d like to practise even more with conjunctions (connecting words), check out these articles and quizzes. Conjunctions are really important when you want to be an advanced writer. Using them correctly can make the difference between making yourself clear or have your readers think that they don’t understand what you want.

 

3 thoughts on “How to Use However

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