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Kindly read the last sentence of this paragraph:

"In the 1920s, a German named Adi Dassler created a new sneaker brand that he named after himself: Adidas. His brother, Rudi, later started his own shoe company: Puma. As new athletic shoes were developed, people around the world began to use them for many different sports. It wasn't until the 1950s, however, that tennis shoes became popular as a fashion statement outside of any connection with athletics."

Now I can understand the meaning of this sentence:

"It wasn't until the 1950s that tennis shoes became popular as a fashion statement outside of any connection with athletics."

It basically means from 1950s onwards tennis shoes were not only atheletic shoes, but they were worn as casual shoes also for any non sport occasion like hanging out with friends or a casual meeting.

Now, if you use 'however' like in the original paragraph, what does 'however' mean here? Does it make the meaning of sentence opposite (i.e., from 1950s they became ONLY atheletic shoes, no more used as casual shoes for non-sport events) to what I understood above?

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In this case, "however" is used to introduce a concept that might be surprising or contrary to expectations based on the earlier text. The paragraph discusses the rise in popularity of sneakers in the 1920's, explaining that these two brothers each started shoe companies (which we know were successful, as the brands are still around today) and that people used them all over the world. At this point in reading, it may come as a surprise to the reader that for about 30 years after the introduction of these shoes (from the 1920's until the 1950's), these types of shoes were limited to athletic use, especially given that nowadays they are worn in many contexts. People might assume that was always the case, so "however" is used in order to express that "the following information may not be what you would assume based on the flow of ideas so far."

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  • So using "however" doesn't make the meaning of sentence opposite right? I mean it still means sneakers became popular in non-sports/non-athletics fields after 1950s? – Vikas Jan 3 at 12:13
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    Correct. Using the word "however" does not change the meaning of the sentence. "However" just indicates to the reader that the ideas in that sentence will be in contrast to the previous text. It's similar to the word "but." "However" is like a sign when you are driving. If the road makes a sharp turn to the right, there might be a sign telling you "RIGHT TURN AHEAD." The sign does not change the direction of the road; if you removed the sign, the road would still turn right. But the sign alerts you to this change. – zunojeef Jan 3 at 15:50
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The word "however" simply indicates a contrast with the previous sentence.

"As new athletic shoes were developed, people around the world began to use them for many different sports. It wasn't until the 1950s, however, that tennis shoes became popular as a fashion statement outside of any connection with athletics.

This can equally well be worded as follows:

"As new athletic shoes were developed, people around the world began to use them for many different sports. However, it wasn't until the 1950s that tennis shoes became popular as a fashion statement outside of any connection with athletics."

Or:

"As new athletic shoes were developed, people around the world began to use them for many different sports, but it wasn't until the 1950s that tennis shoes became popular as a fashion statement outside of any connection with athletics.

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  • These still confuse me if it means opposite. In simple terms, does this sentence somewhat mean same as you gave 2 examples: "As new athletic shoes were developed, people around the world began to use them for many different sports, but from 1950s that tennis shoes became popular as a fashion statement without any connection with athletics." – Vikas Jan 3 at 11:55
  • "However" and "but" do not always indicate opposites. Sometimes they just indicate a contrast or even just a reservation or caveat. – rjpond Jan 3 at 12:14
  • I think the "but" in your sentence works less well than the original because the lack of "it wasn't until" virtually eliminates the sense that you are making a contrasting statement. – rjpond Jan 3 at 12:16

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