How to use “however” in formal writing

This is how to use however in formal writing, such as business correspondence, emails etc.

  • However has a similar meaning to nevertheless or despite this.
  • However contrasts a sentence against the preceding sentence.
  • However often begins a sentence. It is followed by a comma.
  • We do not use however to join two sentences.


  • We had a small drop in sales last month. However, we are still above the plan.
  • We invited 100 customers to the presentation. However, only about 50 came.
  • We invited 100 customers to the presentation however only about 50 came.

We can also use however in the middle of a sentence:

  • We had a small drop in sales last month. We are, however, still above the plan.
  • The drop in sales was mainly due to the bad weather. There were, however, other factors.

Don’t forget the comma before and after however in the last two examples!

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