Wednesday, August 18, 2010

However: Being First in a Sentence is A-Okay!

Stephanie writes:
Hi Snarky,
I always thought that there was a rule against starting a sentence with the word however. I could be wrong, however.
Does Hannaford get it wrong? Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, first published in 1959 and still regarded as a bible of grammar and good writing, is clear about never starting a sentence with however. But flash forward 51 years, and most copy editors and grammarians now see it as a matter of personal preference. 

Quick rules:
  • You can use however at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a sentence.
  • Set off however with commas when it means 'on the other hand' or 'nevertheless.' However, we cannot be responsible for any damage resulting from carts left on the lot. Perfectly fine!
  • There's no need for a comma when however means 'in whatever way.' However hard he tried, he couldn't open the jar.

I do, however, object to the sign's use of a capital "Y" in "Thank You." It's a sentence, not a headline, so the "Y" should be lower case. As in, Thank you.


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