Suggestions for connecting ideas at the sentence and paragraph level in academic writing.
In academic writing, it is important to present an argument clearly and cohesively. In addition, you may be required to discuss and evaluate existing research or ideas about the topic under discussion. Often you will be assessed on your ability to do both. Developing the language to connect ideas in academic writing will help you with both these tasks. The appropriate use of ‘discourse markers,’ that is, words or phrases that signal a relationship, can reveal and reinforce the direction that your argument is taking, and make clear the relations between sections of your writing.
Here we provide suggestions for sentence openers, ‘linking words’ within sentences and between paragraphs, and alternative vocabulary choices you might use when connecting ideas in writing.
Connectives used in and between sentences
Connectives allow us to be more precise about the relationships between statements in a sentence or between sentences. Particular phrases and words serve different functions in connecting ideas and arguments. For example, different clauses or words can signal or ‘signpost’ additional or similar information, opposition or contrast, concession, cause or effect, emphasis, clarification, or a relationship in time or sequence. Some useful examples of each are categorised by function below.
Note that most of these terms can also be used to start new paragraphs. However, some of them need to be incorporated into fuller sentences to be effective as paragraph openers. For example, if you use notwithstanding as a paragraph opener you may have to add other content words to provide more information such as “Nothwithstanding a lack of natural resources, the region has…”
- Addition To add an idea
Additionally, and, also, apart from this, as well (as), in addition, moreover, further, furthermore.
- Condition to provide a condition
If, in that case, provided that, unless.(Video) How To Connect Ideas In English [with Linking Words]
- For comparison To show how things are similar
Correspondingly, equally, for the same reason, in a similar manner, in comparison, in the same way, on the one hand, similarly.
- For contrast To show how things are different
Alternatively, although, but, conversely, despite, even so, even though, however, in contrast, in spite of, instead, on the contrary, contrary to, nevertheless, nonetheless, notwithstanding, on the other hand, rather, still, though, yet, whereas, while.
- For emphasis To put forward an idea more forcefully
Again, in fact, interestingly, indeed, it should be noted (that), more important(ly), most importantly, to repeat, (un)fortunately, unquestionably.
- For illustration To provide examples
A further instance of this is..., an example of this is…, for example, for instance, such as, thus, as follows.
- For restatement For rephrasing statements
In other words, more simply, namely, simply put, to put it differently / another way, such as, that is.
- The cause of things To attribute the reasons for something occurring
A / the consequence of, because, due to, for, the effect of …, since, the result of …
- The effect of things To show the effect of something
Accordingly, as a result/consequence, consequently, for this reason, hence, so, therefore, thus.
- For concession / qualification Conceding something
Admittedly, although, clearly though, even though, however, indeed, obviously.
- Generalisation Making a general statement
As a rule, for the most part, generally, in general, in most cases, normally, on the whole, usually.(Video) Grammar patterns 8 Connecting ideas
- Time order To indicate a chronological sequence
First, second, third (etc), next, before, earlier, finally, following, given the above, later, meanwhile, subsequently, then, to conclude, while.
A note about presentation and style
Check a usage guide for exact rules for punctuation. Many introductory phrases have a comma after them. For example, 'therefore,' and 'in addition,'.
Apart from using the linking words / phrases above, showing the link between paragraphs could involve writing ‘hand-holding’ sentences. These are sentences that link back to the ideas of the previous paragraph. For instance, when outlining the positive and negative issues about a topic you could use the following:
Example (from beginning of previous paragraph):
- One of the main advantages of X is…
When you are ready to move your discussion to the negative issues, you could write one of the following as a paragraph opener:
- Having considered the positive effects of X, negative issues may now need to be taken into account…
- Despite the positive effects outlined above, negative issues also need to be considered...
It is always important to make paragraphs part of a coherent whole text; they must not remain isolated units.
Checking for paragraph links in your own work
When you are editing your next written assignment, ask yourself the following questions as you read through your work (Gillett, Hammond, & Martala, 2009):
- Does the start of my paragraph give my reader enough information about what the paragraph will be about?
- Does my paragraph add to or elaborate on a point made previously and, if so, have I made this explicit with an appropriate linking word / phrase?
- Does my paragraph introduce a completely new point or a different viewpoint to before and, if so, have I explicitly shown this with a suitable connective?
- Have I used similar connectives repeatedly? If yes, try to vary them using the above list.
- Online learning module
Building good paragraphs
Understand paragraph structure, cohesion and coherence, and other elements that assist you to produce well-developed academic paragraphs.
- Quick read
Using sources in assessments: voice in academic writing
Effectively combine your ideas with those of other writers.(Video) Creative Thinking: How to Increase the Dots to Connect
- Online learning module
We break down the structure of an essay and show you how to do it well.
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Additionally, and, also, apart from this, as well (as), in addition, moreover, further, furthermore. If, in that case, provided that, unless. Correspondingly, equally, for the same reason, in a similar manner, in comparison, in the same way, on the one hand, similarly.What is it called when you connect ideas? ›
“Cohesion” is about ideas that connect to each other “the way two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle do,” whereas “coherence” “is when all the sentences in a piece of writing add up to a larger whole” (69).How do you connect ideas effectively? ›
- Use simple words to present concepts or ideas. ...
- Be concise. ...
- Spark curiosity with your words. ...
- Connect your points with people's emotions. ...
- Provide proof or data to back up your idea. ...
- Deliver your ideas with other forms of media. ...
- Adapt according to different scenarios and audiences.
and, again, and then, besides, equally important, finally, further, furthermore, nor, too, next, lastly, what's more, moreover, in addition, first (second, etc.)What is the ability to see connections between ideas? ›
Insight is also the ability to see connections between things where no-one had seen connections before. It's a defining characteristic of really great insights that, at first glance, they can often appear to be so blindingly obvious that “surely someone must have thought of it before”.How do you articulate complex ideas? ›
- Being concise. ...
- Learning to tell stories. ...
- Making it visually enticing. ...
- Using metaphors and analogies. ...
- Continually asking “so what?” ...
- Using Technology that Helps People Understand.
They form logical connections between the ideas presented in an essay or paragraph, and they give readers clues that reveal how you want them to think about (process, organize, or use) the topics presented.What is the importance of connecting ideas? ›
Connectives allow us to be more precise about the relationships between statements in a sentence or between sentences. Particular phrases and words serve different functions in connecting ideas and arguments.What is a connective in writing? ›
Connectives link sentences, phrases and ideas in your writing to guide your reader through your work. Transition terms are a type of connective that specifically indicates some kind of change or development.What are the four methods for providing transitions between ideas? ›
There are four basic mechanical considerations in providing transitions between ideas: using transitional expressions, repeating key words and phrases, using pronoun reference, and using parallel form.
- Similarity. also, in the same way, just as, so too, likewise, similarly.
- Contrast. however, in spite of, nevertheless, nonetheless, in contrast, still, yet.
- Sequence. first, second, third, next, then, finally.
- Time. after, at last, before, currently, during, earlier, immediately, later,
- Example. ...
- Emphasis. ...
- Position. ...
There are three main types of connections readers can make: text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world.What is the term for making connections between ideas from different sources? ›
This activity is called information synthesis. Information synthesis is the process of analyzing and evaluating information from various sources, making connections between the information found, and combining the recently acquired information with prior knowledge to create something new.What's the word for making connections between ideas from multiple sources? ›
As stated in the video, synthesis means combining similar information to create something new. Reading and writing to synthesize means that you read information from many sources relating to a particular topic, question, insight, or assertion.What are the three principles that connect simple ideas into a complex ideas? ›
Formulate his principles of the association or connection of ideas, namely: Resemblance, Contiguity in time or place, and Cause or Effect.How do you articulate ideas in writing? ›
- Expand Your Vocabulary. ...
- Practice Improvising. ...
- Lay It Down in Writing First. ...
- Pay Attention to Tone and Accentuation. ...
- Listen to Yourself. ...
- Put A Framework Around It. ...
- Understand Yourself.
- Present Information in the Right Order. ...
- Find an Analogy. ...
- Present It as a Hypothetical Situation. ...
- Use Visuals. ...
- Develop Tutorials and How-To Guides. ...
- Break It Into Three Points. ...
- Be Clear and Concise. ...
- Break It Down Into a Problem-Solution Structure.
Good writers link ideas, and signpost to the audience the direction their argument is about to take. Certain words or phrases can signal, add more emphasis, or introduce alternative viewpoints. Transitions are words, phrases or sentences that make your writing easier to follow.What are three examples of transitional words that connects identical ideas? ›
again, also, and, as well as, besides, for one thing, further, furthermore, in addition to, last, likewise, more, moreover, next, similarly, too. To Illustrate or Explain an Idea. for example, for instance, in other words, in particular, namely, specifically, such as, that is, thus, to illustrate.What are some transition words to connect two similar ideas? ›
Similarly, likewise, in like fashion, in like manner, analogous to. Above all, indeed, truly, of course, certainly, surely, in fact, really, in truth, again, besides, also, furthermore, in addition.
Transition words and phrases (also called linking words, connecting words, or transitional words) are used to link together different ideas in your text. They help the reader to follow your arguments by expressing the relationships between different sentences or parts of a sentence.