Are conjunctive adverbs a limited and fixed set or can we make other ones such as the word surprisingly?

Let's say in the following example I don't want to use the word however but rather the word surprisingly.

The steak was slightly undercooked; (_______________), he enjoyed it as he was very hungry.

The example isn't my question though. It is there just to illustrate my point. If it's not good just ignore it please or make a better one.

Edit: I didn't find 'Surprisingly' on the list of common conjunctive adverbs and transitional phrases.

  • There's a difference. The adverb "however", is a connective adjunct marking contrast, while "surprisingly" is an evaluative adjunct.
    – BillJ
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 9:16
  • Adverbial conjunctions link two ideas. There is no surprise if we don't know the info from the previous sentence. The other thing that your comment prompted is that conjunctive adverbs modify whole sentences; something I cannot look into it by myself off the bat without some research.
    – learner
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 10:21

2 Answers 2


Your question is:

Are conjunctive adverbs a limited and fixed set or can we make other ones such as the word surprisingly?

Clearly "surprisingly", "interestingly", and many others could be used in the position of a conjunctive adverb.

Various articles on the web discuss the topic. In one example, they show a list of 42 adverbs and then state

"This chart is a partial list of conjunctive adverbs. There are many more to choose from."

The articles don't state they have an exhaustive list.

One could conceivably imagine a team from the Unabridged Oxford English Dictionary compiling and maintaining, year after year, a list of all known nouns, verbs, and even conjunctive adverbs. However in the absence of this Herculean effort, it's more reasonable to say as a practical matter, the list is not a limited and fixed set. Many adverbs could potential be used as conjunctive adverbs. At the same time, not all adverbs make sense in all sentences. They are not always interchangeable, whether the topic is standard adverbs or conjunctive adverbs.


My two cents!

IMO, it's not open to any addition! We need to follow the standard lists provided in the autentic texts or dictionaries or at least the popular words used as conjunctive adverbs (CA).

I'm reluctant to use surprisingly, interestingly etc. because it is an opinion or a personal feedback or remark.

Standard CAs have logic - they invariable modify a previously expressed logical predication.

However, I'm sure that you know the list of standard CA. Interestingly, the guide says the use of a semicolon and comma while using CAs.

  • Hi Maulik, here is something quite interesting. Check the versions of that same wikipedia article you quoted, but in 2016 or 2014 or 2012, etc. The content was different for many years.
    – Sam
    Commented May 22, 2018 at 11:38

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