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Using discourse markers

Using discourse markers

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Summary

Using discourse markers

In a nutshell

Discourse markers are used to direct or redirect writing without adding significant meaning. The discourse markers in most sentences are syntactically independent, which means they do not affect the sentence structure when they are removed but serve as a way to move your writing forward.



Types of  discourse markers

There are multiple types of discourse markers with different purposes and effects on your writing.


Type

Definition

Example

Comparing and contrasting
Using these words and phrases will help you to compare or contrast two things or to present alternatives.
In the same way
Nevertheless
Whereas
On the contrary
Equally
Giving examples
These can be used to introduce evidence and examples.
For example
As shown by
Such as
As we can see from
For instance
Time structure
These introduce a time order in your writing, allowing for a sequence of events.
To begin with
First of all
​Finally
After this
Secondly
In the end
Emphasis
Speaking or writing can sometimes require emphasis on a specific point.
As a matter of fact
To say the least
Actually
I must admit
To be honest
Indeed
Cause and effect
These phrases introduce the direct effects of action.
As a result of
Because
This has the effect of
Consequently
Thanks to
Addition
These are used to add to a point.
As well as
Additionally
On top of this
What’s more
Furthermore
Conclude
These can be used to finalise your point.
In conclusion
To wrap up
In summary
What this all means is



How to use them

It's important to know when to use and when to omit discourse markers in order to avoid sounding unnatural or formal. In your writing, check:

  • Rather than always starting a sentence with these words and phrases, have you varied their placement?
  • Is the purpose of your writing clear without repeating markers too often?
  • Is your argument logically built up with linking words and phrases?


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Exercises

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

Is there one type of discourse marker?

Do discourse markers effect sentence structure?

What are discourse markers?

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