25 March 2014

Linking words and phrases


There are many features of texts which help the reader understand how the information in the text is organised.





Text organisers or transition signals are the terms that cover a wide range of words and phrases which make a text easier to understand. Let's look at a selection through examples.



  • Adding information

In addition to his house in Paris, he has a villa in Italy and a castle in Scotland. 

- As well as the obvious dangers, there was the weather to be considered.

Not only did he turn up late, (but) he also forgot his books.

- He's a photographer and also writes books.

- The whole report is badly written. Moreover, it's inaccurate.

- He won't mind your being late - besides, it's hardly your fault.

- I suggest we use La -Ram as our main suppliers - they're good and furthermore they're cheap.

- The lamps were absolutely beautiful and what's more, the children had made them themselves.
 - We missed the train, and on top of that we had to wait for two hours for the next one.

- Four of our players were ill, and to make matters worse, our main scorer had broken his ankle.

- No, I don't work. In fact, I've never had a job.


  • Contrasting information

- The identity of the attacker is known to the police. However no name has been released.

- There are serious problems in the country. Nonetheless (Nevertheless), we feel this is a good time to return.

- It rained every single day of our holiday - but we had a good time all the same.

- The kids walked home by themselves, although they knew that it was dangerous.

While I fully understand your point of view, I do also have some sympathy with Sarah's.

Even though he left school at 16, he still managed to become the most famous actor.

Despite repeated assurances that the product is safe, many people have stopped buying it.

- I know you don't like her, but you still don't have to be so rude to her.

- "Didn't you find the film exciting?" "On the contrary, I nearly fell asleep half way through it!"

- I prefer city life as opposed to country life.

- He must be about fifty, whereas his wife looks about twenty.

- Their economy has expanded enormously, while ours, in contrast, has declined.


  • Comparing information

- Cars must stop at red traffic lights: similarly, bicycles should stop too.

- The author has made an insightful translation. Also, she has captured the poetic tone of the original piece.


  • Ordering information by time

- At first I thought he was joking but then I realized he meant it. 

- Trade opened between Europe and Japan; after that artists were exposed to Asian culture for the first time.

- Trade opened between Europe and Japan. Before that artists had had little exposure to Asian culture.

- There are two very good reasons why we can't do it. Firstly, we don't have enough money, and secondly, we don't have enough time.

- Trade opened between Europe and Japan; since then, the art world has done much to acknowledge this new partnership. 

- You have to fry the garlic. Next, add the ginger.

- In accepting this award, I would like to thank the producer, the director, the scriptwriter and, lastly, the film crew.

- After the trade embargoes were abolished, eventually both parties realised the benefits of a trade  partnership.

Gradually, she realized that he wasn't telling her the truth.

- After months of looking he finally found a job.



  • Result/causation

- Jim fails to provide evidence for her argument: as a result this text is flawed.

- He's an expert in his field, and is paid accordingly.

- No control group was included in the experiment; thus, the conclusion drawn is rather ambiguous. 

- Her mother was Italian, hence her name - Laura.

- I spent most of my money in the first week and consequently (as a consequence) had very little to eat by the end of the holiday.

- We were unable to get funding and therefore had to abandon the project.

- The government does not intend to cause any further provocation. For that reason, all troops have been withdrawn.

- The employers have promised to investigate these complaints, and we in turn have agreed to end the strike.



  • Making generalisations

Generally (broadly) speaking, it's quite a good school.

- We have our bad times but on the whole we're fairly happy.

- There are a few small things that I don't like about my job, but by and large it's very enjoyable.

- To a large/some/a certain extent, this has been an encouraging year for the company.


  • Conditional

- I'd better write it down, otherwise I'll forget it.

- Smith tends to use emotive language, indeed, this makes her case highly persuasive.


  • Exemplifying information

- Offices can easily become more environmentally-friendly by, for example, using recycled paper.

- The chef required many ingredients to prepare her banquet; for instance, fresh herbs and many types of mushrooms.


  • Concluding

In conclusion, I would like to thank our guest speaker.

- In summary, the dietary needs of patients are important and should be the domain for trained nurses.

- Finally, each of the memory systems operates in tandem to allow learning and cognition to occur.


Of course, this list is not exhaustive, but it should give a few ideas about transition words you can use and recognise. Please do share with me the ones you often use or find in texts.

I hope you've enjoyed it.


Photo source: debrabell.com

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