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The Grammar Guru

Mitchell liked to go to work on Fridays. Mondays, however, were always a problem for him. He never felt like going to work on Mondays, and the weather didn't make any difference. However nice it was, he was disinclined to get up, get dressed and get out.

Once he did, he worked as a fare collector on the turnpike. For hours, he sat in his booth, making change, answering questions from people who didn't know where they were going, always smiling, however bored or eager he was to get up and move.

His friend, Marshall, who drove a taxi, would say, "I don't know how you do it, sitting there all day. I'd go nuts."

"What, you don't sit all day?" Mitchell would respond.

"Yes. My fares go to different places, however, so my scenery changes."

"Well," Mitchell would announce, "I guess you win!"

Then he'd hang up if they were on the phone or walk out if they were out together. In the end, however, they always got back together because neither one was that good at making friends, however much they tried, and, to tell the truth, they never really tried.

Remember: Put a comma before and after "however" when it means "on the other hand"; don't use a comma with "however" when it means "to the extent that"



Commas or no commas?

1) "You can recognize the great horned owl because it has horns," said the instructor. "However the screech owl also has horns."

2) However full she was, Amy always had room for wonton soup.

3) When Rip Van Winkle woke up, he stretched and said, "That was a good nap; however I'll probably have trouble falling asleep tonight."



1) comma -- "However, the screech owl --." (So much for IDs.)

2) no comma -- (And she never turned down an egg roll.)

3) comma -- "however, I'll -- . (Still, Rip went out like a light that night. Go figure.)