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Mr. Strunk and Mr. White in The Elements of Style urge writers to avoid starting a sentence with “However.” It’s not a grammatical mistake to start a sentence with However. It’s just that good writers don’t do it. Instead, they start a contrasting sentence with But.

You would start a sentence with However only when it means “in whatever way” or “to whatever extent.” Thus:

However foolish his actions might seem, he is, after all, only a teenager.

See but.

If you use however to join two independent clauses, you must end the first clause with a semicolon and put a comma after however. Using a comma before the however is a gross mistake. Thus, the following is incorrect:

She enjoyed the beach, however, she forgot her cooler of beer.

Instead:

She enjoyed the beach; however, she forgot her cooler of beer.

Example: But they also knew that [free speech] is always the deadliest enemy of tyranny.” Hugo Black, The Bill of Rights, 35 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 865, 880‑81 (1960).

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