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However means notwithstanding, nevertheless.[1] It does not mean and or furthermore.

Problematic examples

  • X was born in Grimsby; however he grew up in London. ("X was born in Grimsby and grew up in London." There's no contradiction in being born one place and growing up in another.)
  • HMS Jemima never fired her main guns in anger, however she was the only battleship ever to sink a submarine. (Separate the sentences, which are not directly related.)
  • Smith said in 1999 that he would record a follow-up album; however, as of 2009 he had not done so. (This is arguably a grammatically correct usage, but we might remove it without significantly weakening the meaning. Keeping it might pose some questions regarding WP:NPOV. Did the 1999 statement imply "within a few years" or even "within a decade"?)
  • The ship proceeded to the Baltic for continued guard duty. However, on 15 August, the Battle Squadron was disbanded. ("However" is too strong here.)
  • He achieved great success as a writer and public speaker. His wit and satire earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty. However, he lacked financial acumen. Though he made a great deal of money from his writings and lectures, he squandered it on various ventures... (elide, no contradiction)
  • As a result of the failed Beer Hall Putsch, the NSDAP and its affiliated organisations were banned in Bavaria. However, Hitler succeeded in persuading Heinrich Held, Prime Minister of Bavaria, to lift the ban. (elide, no contradiction)
  • Frightened, Genovese began to run across the parking lot and towards the front of her building located on Austin Street trying to make it up to the corner towards the major thoroughfare of Lefferts Boulevard. However, Moseley, who ran after her, quickly overtook her and stabbed her twice in the back. (elide, no contradiction)
  • After Britten's death in 1976, Tippett became widely regarded as the doyen of British music. However, critical opinion of his later works was by no means uniformly positive; after the first performance of the Triple Concerto in 1980, Driver wrote that "not since The Knot Garden has [he] produced anything worthy of his early masterpieces". (replace with but)
  • As was customary on capital ships of the period, the Bayern-class ships were armed with five 60 cm (24 in) submerged torpedo tubes. One tube was mounted in the bow and two on each broadside. A total of 20 torpedoes were carried per ship. However, when both Bayern and Baden struck mines in 1917, the damage incurred revealed structural weaknesses caused by the torpedo tubes and both ships had their lateral tubes removed. (elide, no contradiction)



Some of this may come from an over-literalness on the part of less able writers. "Maybe," they think, "if I don't spell out that these are two different ideas, some readers will be confused."

Some of it may also come from a belief (I saw this a lot in the States but it is certainly not unique to Americans) that if a short word is good, a long word is even better.

Whatever you write, some readers will be confused. There are non-native readers, dyslexic readers, and those who are still learning to read. Some will need to reread passages several times to extract the meaning. But adding extra words randomly to separate ideas makes it harder, not easier, to parse the meaning of a sentence. Where it is stylistically and logically necessary to signal the contradiction, but is always better than however as it is shorter. Best of all is nothing at all. In most cases there is no real contradiction, or else the contradiction is obvious to the reader and does not need to be specially signalled.

It can be annoying to see a passage where almost every sentence begins with however. On a crowdsourced project like this one, it is natural for prose to build up by a process of contradiction and synthesis. But as articles become mature, the writing should be smoothed out so we don't see traits like this. We certainly shouldn't see them in articles that have passed any kind of peer review.

As has been noted, using however may also give undue weight to the second statement. Ask yourself, do the sources you are using fully justify this degree of weight?

Nearly every example of however can either just be removed or replaced with but. An exception is the usage "However hard he tried, he could not make others write better". This, though rare, is a valid exception.

Similar examples


As well as however, many Wikipedia articles contain enormous numbers of althoughs and thoughs. Following similar logic, these can usually just be removed, or else replaced with but.

See also



  1. ^ Porter, Noah, ed. (1913). "However". Webster's Dictionary. Springfield, Massachusetts: C. & G. Merriam Co. p. 710. Archived from the original on 2013-04-01. Retrieved 2022-08-16.