Do You Need a Comma With 'However' or 'Nevertheless'?

Expressions and words that interrupt the sentence flow, like however, nevetherless, or though, must be surrounded by commas in mid-sentence.

In the middle of a sentence, expressions and words that interrupt the sentence flow, like however, nevertheless, nonetheless, or though, should be surrounded by commas.

I love playing tennis. My favorite sport, however, is basketball.

I love playing tennis. My favorite sport however is basketball.

But do not put a comma after however when meaning "no matter how" or "to whatever degree".

Olivia cannot achieve it however hard she tries.

At the start of a sentence, "however", "nevertheless" and "nonetheless" should be followed by a comma.

I worked really hard on the project. Nevertheless, I didn't get any recognition.

At the end of a sentence, we place a comma in front of "though".

I love luxury watches. This one is too expensive, though.

1. However

"However" can have two different meanings:

  • "But" or "on the other hand" as in "I like working out; however, I feel tired after exercising."
  • "Whatever amount or degree" as in "I need a new car however much it costs".

1.1 'However' as a synonym of 'but'

"However" is frequently used to introduce a comment that contrasts with what has been recently said. It is more formal than "but" and less formal than "nevertheless".

Add a comma before and after "however" in mid-sentence to make a contrasting point.

This period of high inflation, however, may last longer.

This period of high inflation however may last longer.

Place a comma after however at the start of a sentence to introduce a new statement. The sentence can be preceded by a period or a semicolon.

Sophia wants to visit Spain. However, she has fear of flying.

Sophia wants to visit Spain. However she has fear of flying.

The dress is expensive; however, I'm going to buy it.

"However" is also a synonym for "yet" (coordinating conjunction) although the comma rules for "yet" are different.

More examples

  • This is a viable option. However, there are others.
  • She wants me to go to the movies. I, however, would prefer to stay home.
  • I want to buy a new laptop computer; however, I have no money.
  • Peter wanted to go to the party; however, he was too busy.
  • Things are getting worse. The situation, however, is temporary.

Recommended: Commas with conjunctive adverbs

1.2 'However' to express 'to whatever degree'

Do not use a comma after however when meaning "to whatever degree" or "no matter how".

I cannot achieve it however hard I try.

I cannot achieve it however, hard I try.

Use a comma after the dependent clause (the first clause) when starting a sentence with "however".

However you look at it, we need to help our friend.

However you look at it we need to help our friend.

More examples

  • However I try, I cannot quit smoking.
  • I couldn't eat the whole dish however hungry I was.
  • However sleepy you may feel, do not go to bed without doing your homework.
  • However fast you drive, we won’t be able to get on time.

2. Nevertheless and Nonetheless

"Nevertheless" and "nonetheless" mean "even though". They are typically used to introduce a contrasting comment and are synonyms of "however" (although nevertheless and "nonetheless" are slightly more formal.)

"Nevertheless" is more emphatic and commonly used to show surprise. "However" can indicate either surprise or be used simply for contrast.

"Nevertheless" and "nonetheless" should be surrounded by commas in mid-sentence.

John expressed his personal opinion. It was, nevertheless, impolite.

John expressed his personal opinion. It was nevertheless impolite.

We add a comma after nevertheless or "nonetheless" at the start of a sentence. The new sentence can be preceded by a period or a semicolon.

It seemed impossible. Nonetheless, I kept working hard and achieved it.

It seemed impossible. Nonetheless I kept working hard and achieved it.

I couldn't believe that an aircraft could land there; nevertheless, the pilot maneuvered the breathtaking landing.

Add a comma before "nevertheless" or "nonetheless" at the end of a sentence to indicate a brief pause.

I would proceed with the project, nevertheless.

You can also omit the comma to avoid the pause.

I had already been to Thailand, but it was fascinating to visit it nonetheless.

More examples

  • He is a great chess player; nonetheless, I beat him last week.
  • I know you are angry. Nevertheless, don't let others know what you are thinking.
  • Mary does not usually watch sports. She was, nonetheless, enjoying the football match.
  • I already knew everything about it, but her talk was fascinating nevertheless.
  • Rebecca does not enjoy fiction books; nonetheless, she occasionally reads them.

3. Though

As a syynonym of "however", "though" should be enclosed by commas in the middle of a sentence.

I couldn't find him. He was playing, though, near home.

I couldn't find him. He was playing though near home.

We add a comma in front of "though" at the end of a sentence.

Yes, he is a good player. We cannot rely on him for goals, though.

Yes, he is a good player. We cannot rely on him for goals though.

When starting a sentence with though, add a comma after the dependent clause (the first clause of the sentence).

Though I do not usually eat Chinese food, we ordered fried rice and spring rolls.

Though I do not usually eat Chinese food we ordered fried rice and spring rolls.

"Though" can also be used as a synonym of although.

More examples

  • Yes, the car is cheap; I wouldn't buy it, though.
  • Would you like to come? I can't but thanks, though!
  • I am hungry; I cannot eat, though, this tasteless dish.
  • You can go, but don't get into trouble, though.
  • Though life is not easy, it's worth living to the fullest.
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