Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

For example:

Well, that was his answer anyways.

Or

However, the answer was wrong.

share|improve this question
2  
They're still called "commas"? –  KitFox Jun 3 '11 at 18:43
    
Im not talking specifically about just the comma; I mean the use case. For example a word with an apostrophe showing possession is called a possessive while one showing combined words such as they're are called contractions. This has no word specifically to talk about the word(s) before a sentence that requires a comma after? –  Oscar Godson Jun 3 '11 at 18:50
    
Well technically it is a sentence that opens with a conjunctive adverb. No sure if it has a specialize name. –  Ivan P Jun 3 '11 at 18:57
    
@Oscar: That depends on the word themselves, they don't belong all to the same category. Usually they are adverbs, though, but not necessarily. –  Alenanno Jun 3 '11 at 18:58
    
@Oscar Godson Oh, you mean the whole piece, like a "clause" or something. I'm sure someone here knows that. –  KitFox Jun 3 '11 at 19:00

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I would call this a sentence adverb:

NOAD definition:

sentence adverb noun Grammar an adverb or adverbial phrase that expresses a writer's or speaker's attitude to the content of the sentence in which it occurs (such as frankly, obviously), or places the sentence in a particular context (such as technically, politically).

Usage note from About.com:

Unlike an ordinary adverb — which is conventionally defined as a word that modifies a verb, adjective, or other adverb — a sentence adverb modifies a sentence as a whole or a clause within a sentence.

Dozens of words can be used as sentence adverbs, among them actually, apparently, basically, briefly, certainly, clearly, conceivably, confidentially, curiously, evidently, fortunately, hopefully, however, ideally, incidentally, indeed, interestingly, ironically, naturally, predictably, presumably, regrettably, seriously, strangely, surprisingly, thankfully, theoretically, therefore, truthfully, ultimately, and wisely.

Well may well be used as a sentence adverb as well. Or it could be construed as an exclamation.

share|improve this answer
    
Awesome! Perfect. –  Oscar Godson Jun 3 '11 at 21:23

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.