Linking Words (Words that connect)

Linking Words (Words that connect)

I would like to thank Otavio, for suggesting this subject, and I would like to encourage all readers to make suggestions for me to write about. I also implore all readers to offer corrections for my errors, as I make more than my fair share of them.

In English there are seven main groups of linking words and they are used to; first Give Examples, second Add Information, third Summarize, fourth Sequence Ideas, fifth Give a Reason, sixth Give a Result and seventh Contrast Ideas. I will divide this posting into two segments due to the length of the subject matter.

Giving Examples

  • For example: The most common way of giving an example is to use for example or for instance.
  • For instance: The consequences of not turning in assignments on time in my class are extremely severe, for example (or for instance) those students not completing their assigned essay will receive a failing grade for the year.
  • Namely: Namely refers to something or someone by name. – At this time I have two students that have not completed their essay assignments which are due tomorrow: namely, Joseph and John.
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Adding Information

  • And: We went to dinner, the movies and for a walk. Note: There is no comma before “and”.
  • In addition: I filled your windshield washer reservoir and checked your tire pressure, in addition to changing the oil.
  • As well as: In one semester Allison completed her required studies, as well as half of the next semester’s.
  • Also: I want you increase quality, but also you are to reduce costs.
  • Furthermore: Your business plan for the next year is excellent, furthermore it points to the next five years success.
  • Moreover: Can be used instead of furthermore in the immediately preceding example.
  • Apart from: Apart from Mexico City, Sao Paulo is the largest in the Americas.
  • Besides: Can be used in place of apart from.


  • In short
  • In brief
  • In summary
  • To summarize
  • In a nut shell
  • To conclude
  • In conclusion

These phrases are normally used at the beginning of a sentence to indicate that we are tying up a thought or thoughts with a summary, such as: “In summary (or any other phrase, above), to this point we have discussed linking words that, give examples, add information, and summarize ideas.”

Sequencing Ideas

  • The former, the latter
  • Firstly, secondly, finally
  • The first point is
  • Lastly
  • The following

The former and the latter are useful when you desire to reference or two points as in; “While both Jones and Smith attended the university only the latter graduated, while the former quit after one year.” (Jones is the former and Smith is the latter.)

Firstly, secondly, and finally are good ways to list ideas, note that thirdly, fourthly etc. are not normally acceptable, instead try using the first point, the second point, the third point, … and the last point.

The following is a good way to introduce a list, for example; “The following supplies are required for this course, one compass, one pair of dividers, one straight edge, one set of drafting triangles, and one mechanical drafting pencil”.

Due to the length of this subject I have decided to divide it into two separate posts on the Blog pages. Please check back latter for the followings sub-subjects: Giving a Reason, Giving a Result and Contrasting Ideas, as well as a list of links for more study.

Again, In the first installment  I covered; Giving Examples, Adding Information, Summarizing and Sequencing Ideas. In this installment, as promised, I shall cover the following: Giving a Reason, Giving a Result, and Contrasting Ideas.

Giving a Reason

  • Due to / due to the fact that
  • Owing to / owing to the fact
  • Because / because of
  • Since
  • As

Due to and owing to must be followed by a noun. “Due to the rise in wholesale prices we have to raise our retail prices.”

If you want to follow due to and owing to with a clause you must add the words “the fact”. “Due to the fact that the union has gone on strike we can not fulfill our orders.”

Because of must be followed by a noun. “Because of snow in Sao Paulo, the city was paralyzed.”

Since and as mean because. “Since (as) the streets are covered with snow, nobody is driving.”

Giving a Result

  • Therefore
  • Consequently
  • This means that
  • As a result
  • So (Informal and not normally used in written communications.)

“The price of crude oil is rising on a daily basis, therefore (or any of the phrases above) the cost of gasoline is increasing and as a result many people can not afford to drive their cars, and consequently the use of the public transportation system has also increased.”

Contrasting Ideas

  • However
  • Although / even though
  • Despite / despite the fact that
  • In spite of / in spite of the fact that
  • In theory / in practice
  • Nevertheless
  • Nonetheless
  • While
  • Where as
  • Unlike
  • But (Informal and not usually used at the beginning of a sentence, instead use However at the beginning of a sentence.)

Although, despite and in spite of introduce ideas of contrast and you must have a compound sentence. Despite and in spite of must be followed by a noun, and if followed by a clause you must add the words the fact that. “Despite the earnest efforts of the management team, the company lost money last quarter.”

In theory / in practice show an unexpected result. “In theory stock market predictions are simple. However in practice they are very difficult and unpredictable.”

Nevertheless / nonetheless mean in spite of that or anyway. “It was blistering hot, but nevertheless he went for a run.”
While, whereas and unlike are used to show how two things are different.

“While my four brothers have brown hair, mine is black.” “Social security taxes have gone up, whereas the benefits have gone down.” “Unlike the USA gasoline in Brazil is expensive.”

Bill has worked hard to learn Portuguese. “However, he has not mastered the language.”

While this is not a complete list of linking words, some of the more common ones are included.

Cf. Conjunções em inglês: O Guia Definitivo

Sobre o Autor: Bill Slayman tem 66 anos é americano e mora em Pensacola, Florida, USA. Ele atuou no exército americano e hoje está aposentado. Suas paixões são: andar de Harley Davidson, motocicletas, fotografia e qualquer coisa brasileira. Bill é um dos maiores colaboradores do EE.

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