Main Difference – Although vs. However
Although and However are two conjunctions that indicate contrast or opposition. Nevertheless, there is a difference between Although and However based on their meaning, usage and nature. The main difference between although and however is that although is a subordinating conjunction while however is a conjunctive adverb.
When to Use Although
Although is a subordinating conjunction, which is used to combine two clauses together. This subordinating conjunction is used to indicate exceptions to a rule or highlight an alternative. Although is similar in meaning to in spite of the fact. Although can be used either at the beginning or at the middle of a sentence, as indicated below.
Although + Clause 1 + Clause 2
Although he speaks English well, his first language is French.
Clause 1+ Although+ Clause 2
He speaks English well although his first language is French.
If you carefully observe the two sentences above, you’ll notice that a comma has been used at the end of the first clause of the first example, but there are no commas in the second example. When although is used at the beginning of a sentence, you have to use a comma at the end of the first clause.
The following examples will further clarify these rules.
Although he was happy in his new apartment, he missed his former neighbors.
His parents were born in Spain although they speak poor Spanish.
I think he is honest although I don’t believe his tale.
Although it was late, he went out.
When to Use However
However is a conjunctive adverb that can be used to join main clauses or to modify a clause. However is similar in meaning to but or nevertheless and expresses a contradiction. This adverb is used in a sentence when two clauses contain contradictory ideas. For example, look at the two clauses given below.
Clause 1: People tend to gain weight as they grow older.
Clause 2: Gaining weight is not inevitable.
We can use however to combine these two clauses together by providing a smooth transition between two ideas.
People tend to gain weight as they grow older. However, gaining weight is not inevitable.
Note that according to the traditional grammar rules, however could not be used at the beginning of a sentence. However, in modern usage this rule is not much accepted. In fact, many modern style guides state that using a sentence with however is not an error.
If you want to avoid starting a sentence with however, you can use a semicolon to connect the two main clauses. If we take the earlier example, we can rewrite it with a semicolon as given below.
People tend to gain weight as they grow older; however, gaining weight is not inevitable.
Keep in mind that you have to insert a comma after however in both these cases.
However can be also used in the middle of the sentences. When it is used in the middle of a sentence, it has to be preceded and followed by commas. For example,
Notice, however, that a coordinating conjunction always combine two independent clauses.
This contrary view, however, was not accepted by anyone.
Difference Between Although and However
Although is a subordinating conjunction.
However is a conjunctive adverb.
Although combines two clauses and make a sentence.
However facilitates a smooth transition between two ideas.
Although means though, in spite of the fact.
However means but or nevertheless.
Although is not followed by a comma.
However is always followed by a comma (as a conjunctive adverb)