Monday, February 11, 2019

R&R: Raves and Rants With Amanda Cabot

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Yes, it's R&R Time with multi-published author Amanda Cabot.
I've said it before, these posts are keepers.

Compound Sentences and Conjunctive Adverbs

Are you yawning already? I’ll admit that the title isn’t particularly exciting and – if you’re like me – the term “conjunctive adverb” may be unfamiliar to you. I’d never heard it until I started doing research on compound sentences for my December R&R post. That’s when I learned about both FANBOYS (remember that term?) and conjunctive adverbs.

Alphabet blocks spelling out FANBOYS
Simply put, conjunctive adverbs are another way of connecting compound sentences. You probably remember the definition of compound sentences, but since it’s been a couple months, here’s a refresher. A compound sentence has two or more independent clauses; a clause is independent if it has both a subject and a verb.

Many compound sentences are connected by the FANBOYS, with a comma signaling the end of one clause and the beginning of another. Conjunctive adverbs, however, are more complex than the FANBOYS and require different punctuation. (Did you notice that I did not use a comma before “and” in that last sentence? That’s because there’s no subject in the second clause, meaning that it is not independent.)

Conjunctive adverbs include the following (in alphabetical order):
  •          Consequently
  •          Hence
  •          Henceforth
  •          However
  •          In fact
  •          Nevertheless
  •          Therefore
  •          Thus
You probably don’t use these very often in either speech or writing, but it’s important to know the punctuation rule for those rare instances when you do.

The rule is simple: Place a semi-colon before the conjunctive adverb and a comma after it.

It was the second week in December; consequently, every storefront was covered with holiday decorations.

The snow was heavy and just right for packing; therefore, we planned to make a snowman and then go sledding.

If these sentences seem familiar, it’s because I used them in the December post. If you look back at it, you’ll see that the use of FANBOYS to connect the clauses made the sentences sound less pretentious than when I used “consequently” and “therefore.”

Although the rule is straightforward, I’ve seen confusion when one of the conjunctive adverbs is used outside of a compound sentence. This is particularly prevalent with the word “however.” That’s because “however” is both an adverb and a conjunction (aka a conjunctive adverb).
normal or pretentious way of saying tomato

Consider this sentence:
However you pronounce it, it’s still a tomato.

In this case, “however” is an adverb, modifying “pronounce.” As such, it requires no punctuation, and, in fact, if you were to put a comma after it, you’d be making a mistake.

This sentence is different:
However, if you pronounce it toe-mah-toe, some people may think you’re putting on airs.

The reason for the comma after “however” is that it’s being used as a conjunctive adverb, even though there is no preceding clause.

If you’re wondering how to tell the difference between “however” as an adverb or as a conjunctive adverb, there’s a simple test. Delete the word. If the sentence still makes sense, you had a conjunctive adverb and do not need the comma following it. If it makes as little sense as “you pronounce it, it’s still a tomato” does, it’s an ordinary adverb. Keep it, and don’t follow it with a comma.

Image of A simple test delete the word
You can let out a sigh of relief now, because we’re done with compound sentences … at least for a few months. Next month we’ll be discussing another scintillating subject: dangling participles. See you then!


Amanda Cabot HeadshotCover of A Tender Hope
A lifetime of reading and writing, not to mention a host of teachers who believed that good grammar was one of the essentials of life, have given Amanda Cabot such firm opinions about the printed word that I asked her to share some with us in her Raves and Rants posts.  

Although her working career was in Information Technology, Amanda achieved her dream of selling her first novel before her thirtieth birthday and is now the author of more than thirty novels as well as a number of books and articles for Information Technology professionals.  

Her most recent book, now on pre-order (available March 5th), A Tender Hope, is the final book of the Cimarron Creek trilogy.

Find all of Amanda's books, newsletter info and social media links here.


  1. Leslie - Thanks again for hosting me on your blog and for making my posts so colorful. I loved the tomato graphic.

  2. Another winning post. Thank you, Amanda, for sharing your expertise with the rest of us. (Jane)

  3. Amanda, I appreciate your post as usual. Because my mysteries are English, I use "however" and "therefore" more than most, I think. Very helpful. Cheers

  4. Great Post. Another to be clipped and put in my files for review. And you were correct, the graphics are amazing. Fanboys in vertical blocks? Can't find that in any old clipart.

  5. I think this is a really good article.You make this information interesting and engaging.You give readers a lot to think about Compound sentences and I appreciate this kind of writing.