Imagine a little boy hears he can’t have dessert after dinner. Like most children, he might say, “I ate all of my vegetables, though!” But, can you use “though” at the end of a sentence?
You can end a sentence with “though.” It is not wrong. However, you would do so more often in casual speaking, not in formal academic or business writing. The word “though,” when we use it at the end of a sentence, indicates a contrast to the statement that comes directly before. In this way, it is an adverb. But there are other ways to use it, too.
Understanding when to use the word though — and when not to use it — can be confusing, especially for English language learners. The word has multiple meanings, so your use of the word depends on the context.
Keep reading to learn more about adding “though” to your sentences and how — and when — to use it correctly.
What Does “Though” Mean at the End of a Sentence?
The word “though” is a very informal word that carries multiple meanings depending on how you choose to use it. But in each instance, the word generally indicates a contrast between two thoughts or ideas. It can also act as an intensifier, adding emphasis to an idea or point (source).
Here are a few examples:
1. Her natural hair was beautiful. I wish she’d stop dying it, though.
2. Wasn’t the book so much better than the movie, though?
In the first sentence, including the word “though” at the end indicates a contrast. Her hair was beautiful, but the speaker seems to believe it would be even more beautiful if she’d left it her natural color and did not dye it.
In the second, the use of the word “though” at the end of the sentence intensifies the speaker’s point that the book was indeed better than the movie.
Earlier, we stated that you can use “though” at the end of your sentence — it is not wrong. However, it is an informal word, so knowing what synonyms you can choose from is important, especially as it pertains to academic and business writing.
In each of the sentences above, adding the word “though” at the end is grammatically correct but informal in tone.
There are quite a few synonyms — words that have a similar meaning and connotation — for the word “though,” but, again, choosing the right word depends on the context and subject of your sentence.
We’ll go through synonyms for “though” in the next section but, first, we’ll talk about using the word at the end of your sentence and how it differs from using it at the beginning.
Can You Use “Though” at the End of a Sentence?
Again, it is not wrong to use “though” at the end of a sentence. The better question is whether you should use it. The simplest answer is that if you are writing informally, perhaps a letter to a friend, a short story, or an informal piece with dialogue, you can certainly use “though” at the end of your sentences.
On the other hand, if you are writing a formal essay or academic paper, you should avoid the use of “though.” This is where more formal synonyms for the word come in handy — don’t worry; we’ll provide a few different ideas and options you can choose from shortly.
First, let’s break down the grammatical context and understand how using “though” as an adverb at the end of your sentence differs from using it as a conjunction at the beginning or middle of your sentence.
What Does “Though” Mean at the End of a Sentence?
You’ve no doubt heard someone end a sentence with the word “though,” at least in casual conversation. In this sense, “though” is an adverb. Remember that adverbs are words (or phrases) that modify or describe a verb, adjective, another adverb, or a clause (part of a sentence) (source).
When you use “though” as an adverb at the end of your sentence, it modifies the clause that came previously and indicates a clear contrast or opposing idea. Another way to look at it is to say that the word “though” makes what comes before it less true or simply less appealing (source).
Here are a couple of examples:
1. She added butter and salt to my vegetables. I still don’t like broccoli, though.
The word “though” above shows that even adding butter and salt to the vegetable did not make it more enticing to the speaker — she still did not like it. Here’s another example:
2. I love her outfit. I’m certain I couldn’t afford it, though.
Again here, the word “though” indicates a contrast between liking the outfit and its affordability. It’s not a contradiction, so don’t get the two confused. A contradiction shows that one thing is true while the other is false. Here, a contrast simply shows how one idea differs from the other when juxtaposed or compared.
Common Synonyms for “Though” as an Adverb
You can choose a few different words instead of “though” to make your writing a bit more formal. Remember, it’s best to avoid it altogether in academic writing and use it in your speaking alone.
If you do need to identify a word that shows a similar idea of contrast, you can choose from the following synonyms:
- Even so
All of these words and phrases have similar meanings to the word “though” above, but most work better at the beginning of your sentence rather than at the end.
Your sentence may look like one of the examples below should you choose to skip the word “though” and use something a bit more formal:
1. I love her outfit. Still, I’m certain I could not afford it.
2. I love her outfit. Nonetheless, I’m certain I could not afford it.
If you’d like to simply swap out “though” with another word in the same position in your sentence, your best choice is to use the word “however,” as in:
“I love her outfit. I’m certain I couldn’t afford it, however.”
Learning the intricacies and nuances of connotation and style is no easy task, so don’t feel overwhelmed by the process. It will come in time. Be sure to get a copy of Dryer’s English, a style guide. It’s going to help you as you become more familiar with the language, and you can easily find it on Amazon.
But what about using “though” at the beginning of your sentence? In contrast to using it at the end, using it at the beginning retains some of the formality that you would lose when you use it at the end.
What Does “Though” Mean at the Beginning of a Sentence?
When you use “though” in the beginning or middle of a sentence, you are using it as a conjunction. A conjunction is simply a word that connects or joins parts of sentences (or ideas) together, but in the case of “though,” grammarians call it a “subordinating conjunction.”
A subordinating conjunction establishes a relationship between a dependent clause and the rest of your sentence (source). In other words, when you use the word “though” at the beginning, it is a conjunction that becomes necessary in order for your reader to interpret your intended meaning correctly.
Let’s take a look at a couple of examples.
1. Though I love ice cream, I try not to eat too much.
2. Though I knew I’d be late, I still snoozed my alarm.
In each of these sentences, what you see before the comma (a dependent clause) is required in order for the latter half of the sentence to communicate the correct meaning.
While “I try not to eat too much” is an independent clause that can stand on its own, it has a very different meaning if you interpret it apart from the clause that comes just before.
So, in this sense, “though” is a subordinating conjunction that communicates a contrast between two ideas in a similar way that the word does at the end of your sentence. The second sentence is quite similar — “though” communicates a contrast between one action and the resulting outcome.
Common Synonyms for “Though” as a Conjunction
Below are some common synonyms, some of which are phrases for the word “though” when you use it as a conjunction at or near the beginning of your sentence:
· In spite of
· Even though
· Despite the fact that
You can choose any of the above words or phrases and replace “though” while still communicating the same idea. “Though” is also often thought of as simply a shortened version of “although” and a much less formal version of phrases like “notwithstanding” or “despite the fact that.”
Using the same example sentence from above, your sentence may look like either of these:
1. Even though I love ice cream, I try not to eat too much.
2. Despite the fact that I love ice cream, I try not to eat too much.
At times, being concise in your writing is important, so shortened words and phrases are ideal. You don’t need to add the word “even” in front of “though,” but you certainly can in the same way that you can choose from the other phrases, given they fit the context of your sentence structure and subject.
Is There Always a Comma Before “Though” at the End of a Sentence?
If you’ve been reading closely, you may have noticed that there is a comma just before the word when we use “though” at the end of a sentence. Is that always the case?
For the most part, yes — you always need a comma before “though” when you are using it as an adverb at the end of your sentence. However, because it is a very informal word and often better suited for conversation, some say that the comma is optional.
Remember that an added “though” at the end is similar to an afterthought from the speaker. Adding a comma gives the reader a moment to pause and recognize it as such.
The reality is that adding the comma is essentially up to you. But you cannot go wrong doing so, so perhaps it is best to go ahead and add it.
Conversely, when you use the word “though” as a conjunction, you do not need to add a comma after the word. In this instance, “though” becomes part of a larger dependent clause or introductory phrase. The comma will follow the full clause rather than the word “though.”
Here’s an example:
1. Though I prefer to ride my bike to work, sometimes I take the bus.
There is no comma necessary after “though” here because the larger dependent clause ends with the word “work,” which is where you’ll add your comma.
In situations like this, you’ll always add your comma at the end of the dependent or subordinate clause, separating it from the main or independent clause, which can stand on its own as a complete sentence. This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
If you’d like to learn more about rules for commas, take a look at “Comma After So: When is it Applicable?”
Learning English is no easy feat, especially with words and phrases often used in casual conversation but avoided in formal writing.
Remember that many of these troublesome words, including using “though” at the end of a sentence, are not necessary at all — so until you master the basics, you can choose to avoid them altogether.