Using the Word Otherwise| Can a Sentence Begin with … – Study.com

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Using Otherwise in a Sentence

Otherwise is a versatile word because it can be used in several places in a sentence and can function as an adverb, adjective, or conjunction. Across these functions, otherwise has several meanings related to the concept of difference. To use otherwise correctly, it’s important to note to how its meaning changes as its part of speech changes.

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The meaning of otherwise varies depending on its part of speech but generally involves the basic concept of difference.

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Using Otherwise as a Conjunctive Adverb

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Otherwise can be used in a sentence as a conjunctive adverb to mean ‘or else’ or to show that the effect or result will differ if a suggestion or command is not followed. A conjunctive adverb is a special type of adverb that shows a connection between two things. Conjunctive adverbs show a connection between:

  1. two independent clauses in a sentence,
  2. ideas in multiple sentences, or
  3. ideas in one independent clause.

As a conjunctive adverb, otherwise is most often used to fulfill the first two of these functions. To use otherwise in a sentence as a conjunctive adverb, it is essential to recognize in which of these three ways it is connecting ideas so that punctuation can be used accordingly.

When otherwise is used as a conjunctive adverb to connect two independent clauses in a single sentence, a semicolon is placed before otherwise and a comma is placed after otherwise. Consider these examples:

  • Submit your assignment online between now and Monday morning; otherwise, bring it to class on Monday.
  • Pay the minimum payment by the first day of the next month; otherwise, you’ll be charged a late fee.
  • Products can be returned for a refund within 30 days after purchase; otherwise, store credit may be issued at the manager’s discretion.

When otherwise is used as a conjunctive adverb to connect two sentences, a period is placed before otherwise and a comma is placed after it. In this way, otherwise is used to start a sentence.

  • You can submit your assignment online anytime between now and Monday morning. Otherwise, you’ll need to bring it with you to class on Monday.
  • Be sure to pay the minimum payment by the first day of the next month. Otherwise, you’ll be charged a late fee.
  • Products can be returned for a refund within 30 days after purchase. Otherwise, store credit may be issued at the manager’s discretion.
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Lock the door; otherwise, someone may enter and steal something. This illustrates the use of otherwise as a conjunctive adverb.

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Man locking a door

Using Otherwise as an Adverb that Means “Differently”

Otherwise can be used as an adverb that means ‘differently,’ ‘in another way,’ or ‘in different circumstances.’ When otherwise is used in this way, a sentence normally states one option before the word otherwise. Then, otherwise establishes the concept of difference. Consider these examples:

  • I will send this email to the employees unless someone tells me otherwise. (unless someone tells me to do something differently)
  • All trainings are held in room 120 unless otherwise noted. (unless the location is noted differently)
  • Most parts of the machine are damaged or otherwise unusable. (unusable in another way)
  • The slow service ruined what would otherwise have been an enjoyable meal. (in different circumstances)

Otherwise is often used as an adverb to introduce another name for a proper noun, such as a specific person, named organization, or place. This is done through the phrase ‘otherwise known as.’ In this usage, a comma is used before otherwise. Consider these examples:

  • My grandfather’s hero was William Frederick Cody, otherwise known as Buffalo Bill.
  • After landing in Los Angeles, the group of tourists headed straight for Las Vegas, otherwise known as Sin City.
  • This falls under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

Using Otherwise as an Adverb that Means “Not Including”

Otherwise can be used as an adverb that means ‘not including,’ ‘except for what just has been referred to,’ or ‘in other respects.’ To see how to use otherwise as an adverb with this meaning, consider these examples:

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