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Like last night, I couldn't sleep. This time, however, what kept me awake wasn't the neighbor, but the neighbor's dog.

It sounds a bit off without "however", but maybe it's just me? Why should I include it? Or why not?

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  • It's nice. It reinforces that a contrast is about to be made. "Though" would be a valid alternative.
    – JMB
    Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 12:56
  • I'm perfectly fine with the no-however version. But I don't think its inclusion is wrong nor redundant.
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 13:16
  • 1
    But you want to say, "Last night, like the night before last, I couldn't sleep. This time, however, what kept me awake..." or "Like last night, I couldn't sleep. This time, however, what was keeping me awake..." The choice will depend on whether the statement is made as you are attempting to sleep, or looking back upon a night in which you were unable to sleep.
    – TimR
    Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 13:22
  • Tonight, however, ...
    – lurker
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 4:49

2 Answers 2

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You should include it. Strictly speaking, there's nothing wrong with omitting it, but the second sentence is drawing a contrast between last night and tonight. The "however" is what sets it up as a contrast. An alternative would be to use "but":

But this time what kept me awake ...

(Some may argue that you shouldn't begin a sentence with "but", and sometimes they'd be right. But in this case, just ignore them.)

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Yes. It must be included. 'However' divides the statement into two distinct parts and gives emphasis to the second part. In your example, the dog's barking kept you up all night. That is the most significant information from the sentence, and 'however' gives it the required emphasis.

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