Quick English: However vs Although

However and although are two English words that both loosely mean "but". Unfortunately, knowing exactly when you should use however vs although is something that most native English speakers would struggle to explain.

The difference between "however" and "although"

The main difference between these two words is that however can stand by itself at the beginning of a sentence, with a comma after it. Although can't do this.

The words also have slightly different meanings:

Although means "in spite of the fact that...".

However means "but".

The actual rules about whether to use however or although are quite complicated, but there is an easy rule that works in almost all situations.  See if you can figure out what it is.

The next two sentences are correct:

Although the weather was cold, we decided not to wear our jackets.

We decided not to wear our jackets. However, the weather was cold.

While this sentence isn't correct:

We decided not to wear our jackets. Although, it was rather cold.

If we were to use "however" instead of "although", this sentence would be correct.

So in general, we use "however" at the beginning of a new sentence, with a comma after it. "Although" can be used at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence, but it doesn't have a comma afterwards.


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Here's a few for you to try

See if you can work out whether to use "although" or "however" in the following sentences.

1. __________ I speak English well, my first language is actually German.

2. We can go to the park for lunch. _________, the weather report says it's going to rain.

3. I'll happily drink red wine, ________ I prefer white.

See if you got the answers right by checking the Answer Key

 

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