When writing and speaking, it is useful to use connecting words which link one idea to another to help the reader or listener follow along. There are different categories of linking words and phrases which serve specific purposes. Therefore, it is important to understand the usage of the word (contrasting, adding new information, expressing cause and effect…), and whether or not a word fits into the structure of the sentence.

Read on and start learning English online the right way!

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What Are Linking Words in English and Why Are They Important?

In English, linking words are used to connect ideas together and show the relationship between them.. They can be used to join two or more clauses or sentences together. In other words, linking words will piece in your ideas beautifully and smoothly in your writing. Linking words can be located anywhere in the sentence (beginning, middle, end) as long as they make sense.

The importance of transition words and phrases relies on their ability to help you connect one sentence to another and switch from one paragraph to another in a simple, interesting way. It is how you can help the reader understand your ideas easier, and even allow him to enjoy it. So basically, if you don’t use linking words, your piece of writing will not have a meaning.

chains holding together two bars

Linking Words: Expressing Order

First(ly), second(ly), third(ly), before, previously, earlier, then, next, finally, lastly, the former/the latter.

Example :

  • Firstly, I’d like to present the current production method at our factory.
  • Secondly, I will show how this new method can increase productivity.
  • Of the two types of production methods mentioned, only the latter gives operators greater decision-making powers.

Linking Words: Emphasis

Undoubtedly, Indeed, Obviously, Generally, Admittedly, In fact, Particularly / in particular, Especially, Clearly, Extremely, Surprisingly, Undeniably, Importantly.

Examples:

  • I ordered too much food for lunch today, and surprisingly, I was able to finish everything by myself.
  • Clearly, you didn’t follow my suggestions in our new project.
  • Indeed, a mistake has occurred and we will work on making it up for you soon.

Linking Words: Illustration

For example, For instance, That is (ie), Such as, Including, Namely, In this case, On this occasion, to demonstrate, take the case of, to illustrate.

Examples:

  • Take the case of my brother, he never finished his studies and now he is struggling to find a decent job.
  • We will need to buy extra stuff for the kids, including their school supplies.
  • Our restaurant promotes healthy eating habits. For example, we have over ten vegan options on our menus.

Linking Words: Comparison

Similarly, Likewise, Also, Like, Just as, Just like, Similar to, Same as, Compare, compare(d) to / with, Not only…but also.

Examples:

  • Not only was I able to breathe better, but also I became able to see clearer with this medicine.
  • Similar to your story, I have also been through the same experience.
  • You were sleeping peacefully. Meanwhile, I was studying for my finals all night.

Linking Words: Summary

So, As a result, As a consequence (of), Therefore, Thus, Consequently, Hence, Due to, In brief, On the whole, In conclusion, As I have shown.

Examples:

  • Due to the rain, we had to cancel our picnic.
  • As a result of my overthinking, I now suffer from insomnia.
  • David’s office went through a major issue. Therefore, they had to fire so many people.

Linking Words: Concession

However, On the other hand, Meanwhile, Nevertheless, Nonetheless, Still, Although / even though, Though, But, Yet, Despite / in spite of, In contrast (to) / in comparison, While, Whereas, On the contrary

Examples:

  • I like to swim, but on the other hand, I don’t trust the ocean.
  • Even though our study system is not the greatest, the country managed to provide the students the education they needed.
  • I would love to go out with you tonight. But, I need to sleep early for my important presentation tomorrow.
  • In comparison to other countries, Spain can still be considered as one of the prettiest.

Linking Words: Generalisation

As a rule, For the most part, Generally/ In general, Overall, On the whole, In most cases.

Examples:

  • In general, no one will be able to afford this piece of furniture you are offering.
  • Overall, the main reason is to become fit for the marathon next month.
  • In most cases, women end up dealing with the immaturity of men in the streets without anyone’s help.

Linking Words: Addition

Also, too, as well, in addition (to), additionally, furthermore, moreover, on top of this, what’s more.

  • Besides telephones, the company produces transmitters, as well.
  • The company produces transmitters in addition to telephones.
  • Furthermore, we have recently added a transmitter production facility to our site.

Linking Words: Contrast

Even though, (al)though, despite, in spite of, but, however, nevertheless, whereas, on the one hand…on the other hand.

  • Even though Amanda had signed the contract, she wanted them to change some of the terms.
  • Despite Amanda’s signing of the contract, she wanted them to change some of the terms.
  • The company thought everything was clear, whereas Amanda didn’t.

Linking Words: Consequences/Result

Because (of), since, so, so that, therefore, consequently, thus, as a result, owing to, due to, given (that).

  • Since you didn’t call back, I had to make the decision on my own.
  • You didn’t call back; therefore, I made the decision on my own.
  • You didn’t call back so I made the decision on my own.

Linking Words: Condition

Except, unless, insofar as.

  • Except English, I’m excellent at all the other subjects.
  • Unless you help me, I won’t succeed.
  • He will graduate in so far as he studies hard every single day.

Linking Words: Reason

In fact, as a matter of fact, actually, in reality.

In fact, we don’t really offer 1000 free tablets to first-time customers.

a word on a black background

Complete Chart of Linking Words by Types in English

    
Emphasis
Addition
Contrast
Order
• Undoubtedly
• Indeed
• Obviously
• Generally
• Admittedly
• In fact
• Particularly / in particular
• Especially
• Clearly
• Importantly
• It should be noted
• And
• In addition / additionally / an additional
• Furthermore
• Also
• Too
• As well as
• Not only… but also
• Apart from this
• Besides
• Moreover
• Even though
• (al)though
• despite
• in spite of
• but
• however
• nevertheless
• whereas
• On the one hand/on the other hand.
• First / firstly, second / secondly, third / thirdly etc
• Next, last, finally
• In addition, moreover
• Further / furthermore
• Another
• Also
• In conclusion
• To summarise
Result
Illustration
Comparison
Summary
• So
• As a result
• As a consequence (of)
• Therefore
• Thus
• Consequently
• Hence
• Due to
• For example
• For instance
• That is (ie)
• Such as
• Including
• Namely
• Similarly
• Likewise
• Also
• Like
• Just as
• Just like
• Similar to
• Same as
• Compare
• Compare(d) to / with
• So
• As a result
• As a consequence (of)
• Therefore
• Thus
• Consequently
• Hence
• Due to
Reason
Condition
Concession
Generalization
• For
• Because
• Since
• As
• Because of
• With this in mind
• In fact
• If
• In that case
• In case
• Unless
• However
• On the other hand
• Meanwhile
• Nevertheless
• Nonetheless
• Still
• Although / even though
• Though
• But
• Yet
• Despite/in spite of
• In contrast (to) / in comparison
• While
• Whereas
• On the contrary
• As a rule
• For the most part
• Generally/ In general
• Overall
• On the whole
• In most cases

Important Rules and Exceptions to Take Into Account

Parallel construction with expressing alternatives (and in other sentence structures, as well):

  • The research project will need both time and money. (‘Both’ + noun…‘and’ + noun).
  • For some people, learning English is either too difficult or too time-consuming. (‘Either’ + adjective…’or’ + adjective).

‘Also’ is generally at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence, whereas, ‘too’ and ‘as well’ are usually at the end.

  • Customers are also provided with free parking.
  • Customers are provided with free parking, too.

‘In addition’ can stand alone (followed by a comma) or be followed by ‘to’ if there is a noun after.

  • We have already requested a full refund. In addition, we will ask the company for an apology.
  • In addition to the refund we requested, we will also ask the company for an apology.

Some More Tips

‘Even though’, ‘although’ and ‘though’ are followed by a subject and a verb.

Even though he had negotiated a good deal, he still wasn’t satisfied.

‘Despite’ and ‘in spite of’ are followed by nouns or verbs with an -ING ending:.

Despite his well-negotiated deal, he still wasn’t satisfied.

‘Because’ is followed by a subject and a verb whereas ‘because of’ is followed by a noun.

  • He missed his connection because of the train strike.
  • Because the trains were on strike, he missed his connection.

‘Actually’ is a false cognate which means ‘in fact’. It does NOT mean ‘presently’ or ‘now’.

Contrary to what some people say, we are actually one of the highest paying employers in this sector and don’t have any trouble finding new recruits.

‘Currently’, ‘presently’, ‘nowadays’ and ‘now’ describe a present situation.

She is currently looking for a sandwich course.

When the words ‘and’, ‘also’, and ‘so’ can be used in academic writing, they can be considered too informal when used at the beginning of a sentence. Instead, you can either use a more formal alternative or move the transition word to a different place in the sentence.

  • Also, the documents were sent by mail to you.
  • Additionally, the documents were sent by mail to you.
  • The documents were also sent by mail to you.

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