Differences between however and although
However vs. Although (sin embargo y Aunque) are two conjunctions showing contrast or opposition. However, there is a difference between both conjunctions according to their meaning and therefore their use and nature.
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The main difference that is reflected is that although it is subordinate conjunction while nevertheless, it is a conjunctive adverb.
Although is a transition commonly used to introduce a contrasting idea. Its purpose is similar to that of however but is considered less formal than however. Although it is also subordinate conjunction that can be used in front of a sentence, it changes the sentence to a dependent clause.
This dependent or subordinate clause is no longer a sentence by itself. You must use a comma after use, Although (aunque) in the first clause to connect the two clauses and make a meaningful sentence. Take a look at the following phrases.
- Sam loves Helen.
Sam ama a Helen.
- He will not marry her.
No se casará con ella.
Under normal circumstances, we expect a person to marry someone else if they love them. This is where, although useful, it adds an element of surprise and allows these two seemingly contrasting sentences to connect.
- Although Sam loves Helen, he will not marry her.
Aunque Sam ama a Helen, no se casará con ella.
Examples of the use of Although
- Although she was happy in her new apartment, she missed her old neighbors.
Aunque era feliz en su nuevo apartamento, extrañaba a sus antiguos vecinos.
- His parents were born in Spain although they speak poor Spanish.
Sus padres nacieron en España aunque hablan un español pobre.
- I think he’s honest, although I don’t believe his story.
Creo que es honesto, aunque no creo en su historia.
- Although it was late, he went out.
Aunque era tarde, salió.
When to use However (sin embargo)
However, it is a conjunctive adverb that can be used to join main clauses or to modify a clause. However, it has a meaning similar to “but” or “however” and expresses a contradiction. This adverb is used in a sentence when two clauses contain contradictory ideas.
The use, however, is carried out informal situations and creates a condition in which there is a strong and rigid dependence on the second clause that follows. However, he presents an element of surprise when he introduces the second idea that contrasts with the idea expressed in the first clause of the sentence.
- Clause 1: People tend to gain weight as they age.
Cláusula 1: Las personas tienden a aumentar de peso a medida que envejecen.
- Clause 2: Weight gain is not inevitable.
Cláusula 2: El aumento de peso no es inevitable.
We can also use to combine these two clauses together providing a smooth transition between two ideas.
- People tend to gain weight as they age. However, weight gain is not inevitable.
Las personas tienden a aumentar de peso a medida que envejecen. Sin embargo, el aumento de peso no es inevitable.
Rules on the use of However
Keep in mind that according to traditional grammar rules “However” should not be used at the beginning of a sentence. However, in current use, this rule is not widely accepted in practice. On the contrary, many contemporary guides claim that using a sentence with “However” is not a mistake.
How to avoid starting with However?
If you want to avoid starting a sentence with However to be true to the current rule, you can use a semicolon to connect the two main clauses. If we go back to the previous example, we can rewrite it but with a semicolon as indicated below.
- People tend to gain weight as they age, however, weight gain is not inevitable.
Las personas tienden a aumentar de peso a medida que envejecen; sin embargo, el aumento de peso no es inevitable.
Keep in mind that you must insert a comma after in both cases.
However, it can also be used by placing it in the middle of sentences. When used in the middle of a sentence, it must be preceded and followed by commas.
- However, notice that coordinating conjunction always combines two independent clauses.
Sin embargo, observe que una conjunción coordinadora siempre combina dos cláusulas independientes.
- This contrary opinion, however, was not accepted by anyone.
Esta opinión contraria, sin embargo, no fue aceptada por nadie.
What is the difference between However vs Although?
- Although is a subordinate conjunction, while however is a conjunctive adverb.
- However, it is more formal than although.
- Both though and yet connect two sentences that do not go well with each other.
- A more formal and rigid sentence is created with the use of however and the sentence becomes very dependent on the clause that follows however.
- Although it relates to the phrase despite the fact and can be used simply “although” instead of in all situations.
- The order of ideas when used though is insignificant, while it becomes meaningful in the case of however.