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What does the word "however" mean in the sentence below?

A nonlinear system's state, however, can go to infinity in finite time.

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  • Have you looked up "however" in a dictionary?
    – BillJ
    Nov 12 '20 at 7:38
  • @BillJ Yes, but I think that's not required to be there! Does the meaning change if we ignore that?
    – Aaron
    Nov 12 '20 at 7:59
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    Yes, its omission would change the meaning. In your example, "however" is a connective adverb/adjunct linking the clause with some preceding text. It expresses contrast or an adversative meaning. That meaning would be lost if you dropped it, leaving simply the modal meaning of possibility or ability..
    – BillJ
    Nov 12 '20 at 8:59
  • Incidentally, "however" could be replaced with "by contrast".
    – BillJ
    Nov 12 '20 at 9:07
  • It is in contrast to the previous sentence: The state of an unstable linear system can go to infinity as time approaches infinity. That defines a linear system, and the next sentence (quoted) defines a nonlinear system. Nov 12 '20 at 10:28

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