When to begin a sentence with "Therefore"



I know we can begin a sentence with Therefore. We can also use it after commas in a sentence.

For example, which is correct?

  1. She had previous experience, therefore she seemed the best candidate.

  2. She had previous experience. Therefore, she seemed the best candidate.

I myself feel when the first or second clause is long or when the subject is switched, using "therefore" at the beginning of sentence is better. Therefore, I think sentence #1 is better here because it uses the same subject and both sentences are short.


Posted 2016-10-14T12:52:55.263

Reputation: 8 443

11: *Since she had previous experience she seemed the best candidate* or 2: *She had previous experience, so she seemed the best candidate*. In such contexts, *therefore* is semantically indistinguishable from *so*. But (perhaps simply because it's bigger) *therefore* normally requires more explicit "syntactic recognition" (the syntax / orthography needs to be adjusted to fit it in), so whereas in my example #2 I could reasonably have omitted the comma, you couldn't do that with *therefore*. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2016-10-14T13:23:39.593

4If you look it up in a dictionary, therefore is an adverb, which in turn makes it part of the clause it is in. (Or to put it bluntly, it's not a conjunction.) In English, as you surely know, we consider [ CLAUSE, CLAUSE. ] a run-on sentence. -- Therefore basically means "as a result", so both of your example sentences (ones that are written as two sentences) are fine. – Damkerng T. – 2016-10-14T13:25:06.977

1(That's why many people who'd be quite happy with *Therefore* starting a new sentence in OP's example #2 wouldn't be so happy to do that with *So*.) – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2016-10-14T13:25:45.313



You have asked a common question. Fortunately, there's plenty of material on the world wide web that offer guidance. See, for example, the following:


This page explains a type of error writers often make when using words like [sic] however, furthermore, therefore, thus, consequently, and moreover.

The problem occurs when writers use these words to conjoin sentences. Readers find the error to be distracting because it disrupts their expectation about where sentences should end.


January may be the coldest month, however, it is a time of great beauty.

The boldface “however” and the comma after “month” are the problems. This is easy to correct. But first, here is some explanation.

A common problem writers face is the incorrect usage of conjunctive adverbs. Many times it is because they confuse them with coordinating conjunctions.

A coordinating conjunction is a familiar part of the English language and includes the following: and, but, or, nor, so, for, yet. A conjunctive adverb is not so common in everyday speech, but occurs frequently in written prose. These include the following: however, moreover, therefore, thus, consequently, furthermore, unfortunately.

Most of the time, problems occur when the writer uses a conjunctive adverb in the middle of a sentence when a coordinating conjunction is actually needed. But remember that conjunctive adverbs can be used in any part of a sentence.

This page addresses the problem that arises when conjunctive adverbs are used wrongly to connect two sentences. To avoid this problem, a basic rule to follow is this: If the two parts you are connecting can stand on their own as separate sentences, then you have probably misused the conjunctive adverb. If this is the case, you have a few options for fixing it. Usually a semicolon is the best choice, but you may also use a period or a coordinating conjunction.


Watering and feeding new plants is necessary for growth, however, too much water or fertilizer can kill them.

Erica felt as if she might faint from hunger, therefore, she decided a trip to McDonald’s was necessary.

Joyce Carol Oates is a novelist, essayist, playwright, and poet, moreover, she is a distinguished scholar.

All of these examples create comma splices because there are complete sentences to the left and the right of the conjunctive adverbs however, therefore, and moreover. The commas after “growth,” “hunger,” and “poet” create the comma splices. Here is the correct way to punctuate these sentences.


Watering and feeding new plants is necessary for growth, but too much water or fertilizer can kill them.

Erica felt as if she might faint from hunger. Therefore, she decided a trip to McDonald’s was necessary.

Joyce Carol Oates is a novelist, essayist, playwright, and poet; moreover, she is a distinguished scholar.

Notice that the first example replaced the conjunctive adverb with a coordinating conjunction, the second with a period, and the last used a semicolon. Because many of theses parts of speech can mean basically the same thing, it is tempting to use them the same way in a sentence. Just remember: coordinating conjunctions can conjoin sentences. Conjunctive adverbs cannot. This may be a bit confusing, but with practice and a sharp eye you can avoid making this common mistake.

by Athens Battles

Examples for this handout were adapted from:
Rosen, Leonard J., and Laurence Behrens. The Allyn and Bacon Handbook. 3rd ed. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon, 1997.

(Indiana University of Pennsylvania)


Reader’s question: I would like to know the appropriate punctuation when using the words however, therefore, furthermore.

Answer: My guidelines for words such as however, therefore and furthermore (adverbial conjuncts) are as follows.

If you use these words at the beginning of a sentence, put a comma after them.

… However, we intend following up shortly.

Some modern writers are now dropping the comma, but I still like it because I think it indicates a pause.

Use a semicolon and comma with these words to introduce a new independent clause in the middle of a sentence.

We plan to stay for another year; however, Peter is leaving now.

When you use however, furthermore or therefore as intensifiers or for emphasis, you need commas around both sides of them.

We, however, do not agree with the verdict.

PS An independent clause is a group of words that contains a subject and verb and expresses a complete thought.

(Online Grammar)

Alan Carmack

Posted 2016-10-14T12:52:55.263

Reputation: 11 630

3The first source is actually very good. I see nothing wrong with trimming it down, but I thought a few appropriate words in bold, would help to clarify. OK, you rollbacked a good edit. – Mari-Lou A – 2016-10-14T13:50:58.860

Thank you, I read your answer. Do you mean conjunctive adverbs like therefore never should be used in the middle of sentence after a comma? if yes, you could highlight it, because the question is about it. it seems you say only sentence #2 is correct. right? – Ahmad – 2016-10-15T08:26:43.133


It is a question of style, and the use of therefore at the start of an independent clause is correct:

  • she had previous experience, and therefore she seemed...
  • she had previous experience; therefore she seemed... or
  • she had previous experience. Therefore she seemed...

The adverb therefore should be used with caution, as it is often at the center of run-on sentences. Therefore is not conventionally considered a conjunction, so it cannot fuse two independent clauses into a single sentence the way conjunctions like and, but, and because can. For example, the following sentences are run-ons because they use therefore as a conjunction introducing an independent clause:

  • The players were my heroes, therefore, my dad was my hero because he was the coach. [transcribed in Houston Chronicle]

  • The European Central Bank and the EU itself will not jeopardize their existence, therefore they will do everything they can to maintain the euro and, therefore, Greek solvency. [Wall Street Journal]

  • However, most have less difficulty in choosing their network of preference, therefore it certainly becomes a little simpler to narrow down the choices. [Headline News]

There are a few ways to fix sentences like these.

One, make the clause beginning with therefore a separate sentence:

  • The players were my heroes. Therefore, my dad was my hero because he was the coach.

Two, use a semicolon instead of a comma:

  • The players were my heroes; therefore, my dad was my hero because he was the coach.

Or three, add a conjunction to link the two independent clauses:

  • The players were my heroes, and therefore my dad was my hero because he was the coach.

The Grammarist


Posted 2016-10-14T12:52:55.263



I feel we academic pedants are fighting a losing battle here. The reply above quotes evidence of comma splices in The Wall Street Journal and The Houston Chronicle. I see these almost every day in learned articles and broadsheet newspapers. I have been called a fussy pedant by other academics several times when I have pointed out a comma splice. As an examiner I have been pulled up by senior examiners for deducting marks for systematic usage of comma splices.

English is a language that changes constantly and organically; what was considered to be inaccurate usage 10 years ago is now acceptable. Who flinches at a split infinitive any more, or at a sentences ending with a preposition? There are no 'rules' about using co-ordinating conjunctions and conjunctive adverbs; a contributor above mentions 'guidelines'. Yes, but how are these 'guidelines' arrived at? I believe it is by careful analysis of consensual usage over time -- first the usage, then the guidelines. If we are too stiff about these 'guidelines', then the language will also stiffen, become irrelevant to changing needs and be overtaken by a more relevant medium of communication.

I suggest we should boldly advance in the development of the English language, it may then remain a fit vehicle for whatever we or our successors may wish to use it for.

Jeff Taylor

Posted 2016-10-14T12:52:55.263

Reputation: 21