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At a few sites such as

http://sana.aalto.fi/awe/cohesion/signposts/contrast/sentence/nevertheless.html

I found the following definition of nevertheless:

Both "nevertheless" and "nonetheless" have the same basic concessive meaning as "however": They all introduce a sentence that gives information which is unexpected or surprising in light of information given in a previous sentence. Unlike "however", which is based on a positive-to-negative ordering of information,"nevertheless" and "nonetheless" require an opposite ordering of information, negative-to-positive.

But "nevertheless" is not defined in this way at dictionary sites, such as Oxford and Merriam-Webster, which just define its meaning as: "in spite of that: however".

I am not clear which definition is correct and complete.

  • 1
    That (Finnish) site's example sentence for however makes no logical sense. Paraphrasing: The Mediterranean climate seems to be changing. However, global climate change is the result of human activity. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jun 11 '17 at 18:42
  • What they mean to say is something like this: "It may be difficult to determine the cause of climate change in a single region such as the Mediterranean. However, on a global scale, climate change is clearly the result of human activity." – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jun 11 '17 at 18:48
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    You can trust your dictionaries here. The Finnish site merely expands upon the perfectly reasonable and accurate definitions you found in Oxford, MW, et al., apparently in an attempt to force a distinction where none exists. – P. E. Dant Jun 11 '17 at 19:38
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    The site you point to seems to be professionally designed; nevertheless, the information on it is inaccurate and the site should be avoided. You received inaccurate information on that site; however, you came here and that information was corrected. There is no limitation that native speakers follow on requiring a positive to negative or negative to positive switch after words like nevertheless or however The switch can even be negative to more negative or positive to more positive: I know you lost everything in the recent flood; nevertheless, you missed work and are fired. – Brillig Jun 12 '17 at 15:59
  • Regarding the definition of "nevertheless" as "in spite of that: however" mentioned in your question, "nevertheless" indeed means "in spite of that" but it is not an exact synonym of "however". That's why "but nevertheless" is correct and "but however" is not. – Alan Evangelista Oct 20 at 3:03
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As others have pointed out, the site you link to is inaccurate. "Nevertheless" can be positive-to-negative or negative-to-positive or really anything in-between. The only rule is that there should be a contrast between the two parts of the sentence.

Examples:

I won the lottery last week, but nevertheless, I'm still going to work at my current job.

I burned the cake I made for Jim's party, but nevertheless we cut off the outside and ate the rest.

He's not very social; nevertheless once you get to know him you'll find he has a great sense of humor.

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