1

(Sorry if this is a duplicate, but I really couldn't find a proper answer to my particular problem—either because it's been never answered that way or I don't know the proper term to search.)

However is usually used at the beginning of a statement. But is it fine to use it in the middle, like an appositive or adverbial phrase? Eg.,

Accepted version:

However, my family decided to stay back.

My version:

My family, however, decided to stay back.

marked as duplicate by anongoodnurse, FumbleFingers, Marthaª, tchrist, Kristina Lopez Jul 25 '14 at 18:10

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

1

Using however is perfectly acceptable both at the beginning of a statement and in the middle. But the placement affects the inference that may be drawn or the emphasis that is created.

Take the following example:

i). When the signal to board the buses was given, the other families surged forward. However, my family decided to stay back.

Implication: My family decided not to join the rush (e.g. for safety reasons, or to avoid getting separated).

ii). When the signal to board the buses was given, the other families surged forward. My family, however, decided to stay back.

Possible implication: My family was reluctant to board. (Placing 'my family' at the head of the sentence emphasizes its qualitative difference from the other families.)

0

The two sentences have a different meaning and suppose a different context.

You version implies that there were other families that decided not to stay back, but your family did.

The version with however in the beginning of the sentence might mean the same, but it may also imply that there were a lot of reasons for my family not to stay back, but them notwithstanding, they decided to stay back. There need no other families be involved.

Consider these two fragments:

1.a) His grades were low and he was struggling to pass each exam. However, my brother was determined to get his degree.

1.b) His grades were low and he was struggling to pass each exam. My brother, however, was determined to get his degree. This does not seem to make much sense!

2.a) Most students boycotted the university when the board openly supported the apartheid regime. My brother, however, was determined to get his degree, so he stayed.

2.b) Most students boycotted the university when the board openly supported the apartheid regime. However, my brother was determined to get his degree, so he stayed.

I would write the a-version of these sentences. Sentence 1.b I find confusing and I would certainly avoid. Sentence 2.b would be understood, but I would certainly prefer version a to describe that situation.

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