Difference Between However and Nevertheless

However vs Nevertheless

However and nevertheless belong to the category of connective adverbs and introduce to the reader an unexpected result. They present an idea that is still connected with the earlier sentence in a text. These words are, therefore, used in written English and are considered formal transitions along with many other transitions such as still, despite, nonetheless, even so, and so on. Because ‘however and nevertheless’ have many similarities, students learning English language often remain confused between them. This article attempts to remove this confusion by highlighting their subtle differences and their correct usage.


‘However’ is a transition that can be used to express a contrast. It helps a writer to convey a second point that is in sharp contrast to the first point he made in the previous sentence. Normally, however is placed at the start of a sentence but it can also be placed in the middle or even at the end of a sentence to convey the same impression.

There are many alternatives to however that can be used in its place and look less formal. These transitions are in spite of this, despite, yet, still etc., but these words are more suitable to be used in spoken English than a written text. It is better to make use of however while writing essays. The thing to note with however is that the earlier it is used in a sentence, the more dramatic and emphatic is its effect. The more it slides down the length of a sentence, the less emphatic it becomes.

However is a conjunctive adverb that serves the purpose of joining two clauses or sentences. It is used to introduce an idea that is contrasting to the idea presented in the first clause, and it creates a condition where the first clause has a heavy and stiff dependence upon the second clause. To use this conjunctive adverb, the writer has to use a semicolon after the first clause of the sentence and then a comma after ‘however’.


Nevertheless is a transition and links two sentences or clauses of a sentence, often presenting contrasting ideas. It can easily be used in place of however, but not always. Nevertheless is used to show the relationship between two clauses or sentences. This relationship is mostly one of concession which is not expected and is surprising. Look at the following sentence to understand the idea of concession and the use of nevertheless.

Mandy lived in Japan for 10 years; nevertheless she cannot speak Japanese.

In this sentence, it is seen that nevertheless is used to express surprise that despite having lived in Japan for a long time, Mandy is still not able to speak the local language. It is clear from this example that however can be easily used in this sentence to replace nevertheless. In fact, one can use however in place of nevertheless in all situations.

What is the difference between However and Nevertheless?

• However and nevertheless are conjunctions that join two sentences or clauses of a sentence that present or introduce opposing ideas.

• The use of both however and nevertheless expresses surprise, but however is able to convey contrast as well as concession, and nevertheless presents an idea of concession. This allows one to make use of however in place of nevertheless in all situations.

• Nevertheless is a little more formal than however.