- An example of however is someone saying they'll do whatever is necessary in make something happen; however it is necessary.
- An example of however is someone saying, even though the movie they wanted to see isn't playing, they're still going to the movies; not playing however they are still going.
- no matter how; in whatever manner
- to whatever degree or extent
- by what means: however did he escape?
- nevertheless; yet; in spite of that; all the same: often used as a conjunctive adverb
Origin of howeverMiddle English hou-ever
- In spite of that; nevertheless; yet: The book is expensive; however, it's worth it.
- On the other hand; by contrast: The first part was easy; the second, however, took hours.
- To whatever degree or extent: “The prospect of success, however remote, was tantalizing” ( Stephen Baker )
- In what way. Used as an intensive of how : However did you get here so soon?
- In whatever manner or way that: Dress however you like.
- Archaic Notwithstanding that; although: “Howe'er thou art a fiend, / a woman's shape doth shield thee” ( Shakespeare )
Usage Note: It is sometimes claimed that one should not use however to begin a sentence, but few writers consistently follow this rule. In our 2015 survey, only 10 percent of the Usage Panel reported that they themselves always follow the rule, 30 percent said that they usually or sometimes follow it, and 60 percent said that they rarely or never do so. And consistent with their self-reports, two thirds of the Panel judged a sentence beginning with however to be completely acceptable, and another quarter of them judged it at least somewhat acceptable—in other words, fewer than ten percent of them objected to it. • When however is used to join clauses within a sentence, it acts as a conjunctive adverb like nevertheless, not as a coordinating conjunction like but or yet. The conventions of punctuation thus require that it be preceded by a semicolon, as in Main Street will be closed to traffic for the parade; however, the stores along it will remain open. Using a comma instead of a semicolon is likely to be perceived as a mistake. In our 2015 survey, 86 percent of the Usage Panel gave an unacceptable rating to the sentence Main Street will be closed to traffic for the parade, however, the stores along it will remain open. See Usage Note at but. See Usage Note at whatever.
- (conjunctive) Nevertheless, nonetheless, even so, that said, in spite of this.
- He told me not to do it. However, I did it anyway.
- (degree) To whatever degree.
- However clear you think you've been, many questions will remain.
- (manner) In whatever way.
- Let me know when you've had your interview, however it goes.
- (chiefly UK, as an intensified form in interrogatives) In what way?; how?
- However did you do that?
- (nevertheless): Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style argues that the adverb however, in its sense of nevertheless should be avoided at the beginning of a sentence.
(although): The use of however as a conjunction meaning "but" is identical to its use as a clause-initial adverb meaning "nevertheless", except in punctuation (when written) and in prosody (when spoken). Hence, the following proscribed sentence:
(proscribed) He told me not to do it, however I did it.
is equivalent to the following accepted one:
(accepted) He told me not to do it; however, I did it.
In particular, when used as a conjunction in this sense, however always appears between the clauses it connects; it does not introduce a true subordinate clause that can be moved to the start of an independent clause, because a conjunctive adverb cannot do that.