Explanation: However vs Nevertheless

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,163 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited September 2016 in Grammar

GRAMMAR: The difference between HOWEVER and NEVERTHELESS?

Many students (and native speakers!) have problems knowing when to use however and nevertheless.

We use however and nevertheless to show contrast in a sentence. Usually, the first half of a sentence contrasts (opposes) the second half.

Look at these two examples:

  1. I already knew a lot about the subject; however, his presentation was still interesting.
  2. I knew a lot about the subject already, but his presentation was interesting nevertheless.

Notice how the second half of each sentence presents something unexpected? Can you see a contrast from the first part of the sentence? Both these sentences highlight a contrast, they mean 'despite this' or 'despite what has just been stated'.

Here's the main difference between the two words: nevertheless is a little more formal and emphatic (e.g., surprising) than however. Nevertheless is also not used as often as however.

Study these examples to see how the words are used:

  • I'm a vegetarian. However, sometimes I eat fish.
  • This is one solution to the problem. However, there are a number of others.
  • We asked for donations. However, all we received were complaints.
  • Milos said his English is terrible. Nevertheless, he got a 9.0 on his IELTS Writing test.
  • Many know that too much sugar is bad for health. Nevertheless, many continue to eat a lot of it every day.
  • There are several serious problems with the car. Nevertheless, we will have to use it to drive to work this week.


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