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I encountered a sentence as follows

It is not, however, impossible to mix high-level and low-level functionality in a language.

I couldn't fiqure out why "however" was used between commas insted of locating it at the begining of the sentence.

Thanks.

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  • In contexts like yours, where the actual referent of "contrasting" however is in a preceding utterance, there's a lot of flexibility about where it can be placed. I think it's always okay to put it before or after the entire "contradictory" utterance, but it can often (as in your example) be placed somewhere within that sentence (it's also perfectly natural to include however after impossible). IMHO it's also "grammatical" (though not "idiomatically natural") to put it after mix and functionality, but others may disagree on that. Commented Dec 22, 2019 at 15:20

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The placing of 'however' is mostly a matter of style rather than grammar. In BrE writers of a certain generation, placing 'however' at the beginning of a sentence is deprecated. Their reasoning is that, otherwise, if you are not careful, almost every sentence will begin with 'however': "The best people put milk in their tea after it has been poured. However, it has not been shown that anyone can tell without seeing it whether the tea was put in first. However, it is a sign of being lower class to put the milk in first. However...".

If you make it a rule not to start a sentence with 'however', there is a slightly better chance that you will think through the logic of what you say before you start writing it. And that can only be a good thing.

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