TRANSITIONS, CONJUNCTIVE ADVERBS
A conjunctive adverb is an adverb or adverbial phrase
that joins two independent clauses (like a coordinating conjunction) and
provides adverbial emphasis to the resulting construction. The new
construction always results in a compound or
compound-complex sentence structure. Conjunctive adverbs are also
called adverbial conjunctions. Although their name suggests
otherwise, conjunctive adverbs are not considered true conjunctions, even
though these adverbs join independent clauses.
A conjunctive adverb
modifies a word (usually a verb) in the second clause, answering when?
where? how? why? under what condition? or to what degree? an
action occurred or a situation existed. Additionally, as with other
adverbs, e.g., subordinate conjunctions, which introduce a subordinate
adverbial clause, conjunctive adverbs typically express a relationship
between clauses, sentences, or paragraphs that involve the concept of
addition, cause & effect, comparison, concession, contrast, emphasis,
example, summary, or sequence.
An adverb or adverbial
phrase--whether a subordinating conjunction, conjunctive adverb,
transition, or adverbial expletive--is always identified and defined by
function alone. For example, the adverbs however, consequently, always,
indeed, etc., to name only a few, commonly function as conjunctive
adverbs. However, these same words can also be transitions and/or
expletives in other sentences. To correctly identify an adverb, we must
examine its position relative to the rest of a sentence or
Adverbs and adverbial phrases, in highlighted text,
function as conjunctive adverbs in the following
Dennis went to the symphony;
consequently, he was suspended from the band.
very friendly; incidentally, he's the same sign
as I am.
Our horse is a great jumper; on the
other hand, he isn't very good in the races.
Max appears to
be a level-headed guy; still, there's something
about him that's just not right.
the preceding we know that a conjunctive adverb (a word or phrase) appears
between independent clauses acting like a coordinating conjunction. In
addition to this function, a conjunctive adverb can appear between entire
sentences, acting as a connector, or bridge, between the
sentences. Conjunctive adverbs can also appear between entire paragraphs
acting as a connector between these constructions. Adverbs functioning in
either of these capacities are called transitional elements, or simply,
transitions. In the following examples, adverbs functioning as transitions
appear in highlighted text.
Most of us would like to believe that all
persons are created equal. However, the real
word isn't based upon idealistic beliefs.
of an adverb functioning as a connector between two sentences. We call
these adverbs transitions.)
It's unfortunate that
many students resent our testing procedures because they most times seem
tedious, confusing, and psychologically taxing. Graduate students are wont
to recall these times with considerable horror.
Therefore, while I refrain from claiming that these
tests are actually damaging, I submit that we need to develop strategies
that will help us to overcome false results.
example of an adverb functioning as a connector between two
An adverb can function within a sentence as an
expletive, or interrupter--a word or phrase that is mildly or definitely
parenthetical content. Adverbial expletives can appear nearly anywhere
within a sentence. Expletives do not introduce dependent clauses, join
independent clauses, or act as a bridge between sentences or paragraphs.
They are empty words inserted into a sentence which add nothing materially
to the meaning of the sentence. Examples follow.
however, was spared the ravages of the
Toni found that old sofa, by the
way, lying in a vacant lot.
The new students, incidentally, don't have enough
Pamela will certainly win the
By the way, are you going to the
(These Adverbs Can Also Function as
Subordinators, Transitions & Expletives)
|as a matter of fact
||as a result
||at the same time
||in other words
||in the first place|
||on the other hand