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Using Linking Words to Connect Ideas.

This post forms part of series of posts that look at a range of linking words, they are used to link sentences together for different purposes, in other words, they connect different ideas together to allow us to express more complex thoughts. In fact, once you have an good understanding of basic English grammar then these kinds of linking words are what will give you the most creativity with your spoken and written English.

Each set of linking words performs a specific function in the sentence. You will very unlikely want all of these words, but it is really useful to at least know where they are.

To be able to use these linking words effectively, we need to know whether they are followed by a full sentence, a noun phrase and where they fit into a sentence.

  • Despite significant losses in the first quarter, the company finished the year with an overall profit. (despite is followed by a noun phrase).

  • Although the company suffered significant loses in the first quarter, it finished the year with an overall profit. (although is followed by a full sentence).


Below are several lists of linking words according to their function. All the linking words are listed according to whether they are followed by a noun phrase, full sentence, or have a sperate structure.


Agreement / Addition / Similarity

The transition words like also, in addition, and, likewise, add information, reinforce ideas, and express agreement with preceding material.

+ full sentence in the first place as a matter of fact in addition in the same fashion / way first, second, third not to mention that equally important by the same token equally identically uniquely moreover of course likewise comparatively correspondingly similarly furthermore additionally

+ noun phrase

as well as together with

in the light of

to say nothing of

coupled with

in addition to


Opposition / Limitation / Contradiction

Transition phrases like but, rather and or, express that there is evidence to the contrary or point out alternatives, and thus introduce a change the line of reasoning (contrast).

+ full sentence in contrast of course ..., but on the other hand on the contrary at the same time even so / though then again above all in reality after all unlike besides as much as even though although instead whereas otherwise however rather nevertheless nonetheless regardless

+ noun phrase in contrast to different from


in spite of

Cause / Condition / Purpose

These transitional phrases present specific conditions or intentions.

+ full sentence in the event that granted (that) as / so long as on (the) condition (that) with this intention with this in mind in the hope that in order to (do something). seeing / being that since while lest in case provided that given that only / even if so that

+ noun phrase

for the purpose of

in view of

due to

because of

Examples / Support / Emphasis

These transitional devices (like especially) are used to introduce examples as support, to indicate importance or as an illustration so that an idea is cued to the reader.

+ full sentence in other words to put it differently for one thing as an illustration in this case for this reason to put it another way that is to say by all means important to realize another key point first thing to remember the most compelling evidence is that it must be remembered that an often overlooked point is that to point out on the positive side on the negative side with this in mind especially explicitly specifically expressly surprisingly frequently significantly particularly in fact in general in particular in detail for example for instance to demonstrate to emphasize to repeat to clarify to explain to enumerate

+ noun phrase

with attention to

such as

Effect / Consequence / Result

Some of these transition words (thus, then, accordingly, consequently, therefore, henceforth) are time words that are used to show that after a particular time there was a consequence or an effect.

Note that for and because are placed before the cause/reason. The other devices are placed before the consequences or effects.

+ full sentence as a result under those circumstances in that case for this reason in effect consequently therefore accordingly

+ noun phrase

as a result of

because of

Conclusion / Summary / Restatement

These transition words and phrases conclude, summarize and / or restate ideas, or indicate a final general statement. Also some words (like therefore) from the Effect / Consequence category can be used to summarize.

+ full sentence as can be seen generally speaking in the final analysis all things considered as shown above in the long run given these points as has been noted for the most part after all in fact in summary in conclusion in short in brief in essence to summarize on balance altogether overall by and large to sum up on the whole in any event in either case all in all Obviously Ultimately Definitely

Time / Chronology / Sequence

These transitional words (like finally) have the function of limiting, restricting, and defining time. They can be used either alone or as part of adverbial expressions.

+ full sentence at the present time from time to time sooner or later at the same time up to the present time to begin with as soon as as long as in the meantime in a moment without delay in the first place all of a sudden at this instant first, second immediately quickly finally after later last until till since then before since when once about next now formerly suddenly shortly henceforth whenever eventually meanwhile further during in time prior to forthwith straightaway by the time whenever until now now that instantly presently occasionally

Many transition words in the time category (consequently; first, second, third; further; hence; henceforth; since; then, when; and whenever) have other uses.

Except for the numbers (first, second, third) and further they add a meaning of time in expressing conditions, qualifications, or reasons. The numbers are also used to add information or list examples. Further is also used to indicate added space as well as added time.

Space / Location / Place

These transition words are often used as part of adverbial expressions and have the function to restrict, limit or qualify space. Quite a few of these are also found in the Time category and can be used to describe spatial order or spatial reference.

in the middle to the left/right in front of on this side in the distance here and there in the foreground in the background in the center of adjacent to opposite to here there next where from over near above below down up under further beyond nearby wherever around between before alongside amid among beneath beside behind across

Usage of Transition Words in Written English

Transition words and phrases are essential for good written English. They improve the connections and transitions between sentences and paragraphs.

All English transition words and phrases (sometimes also called 'conjunctive adverbs') do the same work as coordinating conjunctions: they connect two words, phrases or clauses together and thus the text is easier to read and the coherence is improved.

Usage: transition words are used with a special rule for punctuation: a semicolon or a full stop is used after the first 'sentence', and a comma is almost always used to set off the transition word from the second 'sentence'.

  • Example 1: People use 43 muscles when they frown; however, they use only 28 muscles when they smile.

  • Example 2: However, transition words can also be placed at the beginning of a new paragraph or sentence - not only to indicate a step forward in the reasoning, but also to relate the new material to the preceding thoughts.

Use a semicolon to connect sentences, only if the group of words on either side of the semicolon is a complete sentence each (both must have a subject and a verb, and could thus stand alone as a complete thought).

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