Learn English – Should there always be a comma after “therefore”,”However” etc.


Should you always type a comma after "therefore","however" etc. in the beginning of a sentence? Also, when these (and similar) words are used in the middle of a sentence, should there be a comma or semi-colon before and after the word?

Therefore, he must be killed!

That man is revolting, however, some find him attractive.

Sorry for the lousy examples. I couldn't think of any better.

Best Answer

Not really. There are many cases for which a comma is unnecessary.

He is strong, and therefore a likely candidate.

However strong he is, he is not a likely candidate.

And so on.

As for subordinate clauses, where the words function as subordinating conjunctions, the comma isn't always necessary either.

He is strong, therefore he must be a likely candidate.

Still, I would use one with however in that case:

He is strong; however, I don't think he's a likely candidate.

Note the semicolon. A period would work there as well. This is because "however" doesn't really work as a subordinating conjunction. Therefore isn't usually classed as such either, but I believe it can function as one just fine.