It’s time for a short quiz!
Do you have too many ideas for a project but you struggle to put them together?
Are your essays marked poorly despite all your grammatically-correct sentences?
Have you been told that your paragraphs often have no link to each other even if they discuss the same topic?
If you’ve answered yes at least once, then you’re not alone.
I faced these problems throughout school, and it wasn’t until I got to university that I found a solution.
I had to write several essays and term papers every semester, so I had to juggle many different ideas, examples, facts and opinions. Fitting them all together was hard, to say the least. I had to jump from one point to another in every paragraph while ensuring that it still made sense.
That’s when I discovered the power of English connectors (aka, the words I’ve marked in bold!).
And today, I’m here to share their magic with you!
What Are English Connectors?
English connectors are little words and phrases that help you connect sentences and even paragraphs.
They’re used both in conversations and in writing. With the help of connectors, your essays automatically become more logical and structured.
One sentence automatically leads up to the next. As a result, your writing and speech become clearer and easier to understand.
In other words, if your sentences were the beads of a necklace, then connectors would be the thread that holds them together.
We use connectors all the time in everyday conversations, too.
You probably use some of them (because, for instance, despite, actually, whereas and so on) without even realizing.
To help you understand, I’ve bolded some of the connectors I’ve already used while writing this article.
Can you spot some more?
Each of these connectors has a specific purpose—some are used formally, while others are more casual. Some are even interchangeable!
Tips for Practicing English Connectors
Before we move onto discussing some popular English connectors, here are some quick tips that’ll help you learn English more efficiently.
Learn English with FluentU
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FluentU has a variety of engaging content from popular talk shows, nature documentaries and funny commercials, as you can see here:
FluentU makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you'll see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
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You can start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, by downloading the app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
Make Your Own Sentences with English Connectors
To explain the meanings and uses of different connectors, I’ve provided example sentences for each. However, you’ll remember them much better if you come up with your own examples!
You can start by using connectors in your diary entries, notebooks, essay paragraphs and more! Soon, you’ll find yourself using these connectors in everyday speech as well.
Write a Short Story or Essay Using English Connectors
To see the huge difference English connectors can make, try writing a paragraph without any connectors and then rewrite it using some of the connectors you’ll learn below.
You’ll quickly realize that your sentences flow better, sound more logical and are easier to understand when using connectors.
Test Your Understanding with Online Exercises
Finally, to find out whether you’ve understood how to use connectors correctly, you can check out these online exercises.
The ones on English Exercises, English Daily and English Grammar are pretty short and can be completed in a few minutes.
There’s also ToLearnEnglish, which provides a brief list of common connectors before you solve the exercise, making it a great resource for revision.
Go with the Flow! 37 English Connectors to Improve Your Speaking and Writing
Below are some frequently-used English connectors and how they’re used.
Study each of the examples regularly and try to come up with sentences on your own. While most of these can be used in both speech and writing, some sound more formal than others and are typically only used in writing.
But no worries!
I’ll make it crystal-clear which connectors should be used for writing, conversations and both.
English Connectors for Explaining Something
In many of our everyday conversations, we need to explain things.
Perhaps you were late for school and you explain to your teacher that it’s because your car ran out of gas.
Or the reason why you want to buy chocolates is that you want to surprise your mother on her birthday.
Explaining things will be much easier if you throw in these important English connectors.
Let’s take a look at them!
The word “because” is used in both casual and formal contexts. You’ll definitely hear this word be used in both writing and speaking! In fact, “because” might just be one of the most common English connectors out there.
Sheila was late for school because her car ran out of gas.
I’m hungry because I didn’t eat breakfast.
2. Due to
The phrase “due to” is used most commonly in writing or formal situations. For example, you’re more likely to say “due to” when sending your boss an email than when speaking to your best friend.
Unlike “because,” the connector “due to” is most commonly placed at the beginning of sentences rather than in the middle.
Due to Jack’s sickness, he missed two weeks of work.
Due to our budget, we can’t go on vacation this year.
3. As a Result
This English connector can be used in all kinds of situations! It can be casual or formal and is commonly used in both writing and conversations.
Use this phrase when you want to explain what caused something.
As a result of her bad behavior, she wasn’t allowed to go to the party.
We didn’t sell many products last month. As a result, our profit was less than normal.
The connector “therefore” is typically used in writing, and mostly in a formal context. It’s often used at the end or beginning of new paragraphs to explain what the outcome or conclusion is.
Apples are red and bananas are yellow. Therefore, they aren’t the same.
Julia tries a new recipe every day. Therefore, she’s had lots of practice cooking.
Similar to “therefore,” “thus” is also used in writing, either in the ending or beginning of new paragraphs.
Learning a new language takes time. Thus, you have to be consistent.
Bob was extremely good at baseball in high school. Thus, he continued to play in college.
“Consequently” is typically used in writing, usually in a formal context.
Ben didn’t study for his exam. Consequently, he received a bad grade.
Anna has only cooked once in her life. Consequently, she’s very bad at it.
English Connectors for Giving Examples
Giving examples helps us prove our point and can sometimes convince other people to believe us. Examples help people understand what you’re trying to say and can help them see why you believe what you believe.
In other words, by giving examples to support your opinion, you prove your point better.
7. For Instance; For Example
Both of these phrases are used in everyday conversations and in writing. In fact, they’re probably the most popular way to give examples in both formal and casual situations!
English is one of the most-spoken languages in the world. For example, there are over 1.27 billion English speakers as of 2019.
Learning grammar is hard sometimes. For instance, I spent four hours trying to learn how to use the conditional.
8. Such as; Like
The English connectors “such as” and “like” are both used very often in writing and casual conversations. Unlike the previous two phrases, these two can also be used to list things.
If you learn English, there are many career options open to you, such as teaching, journalism, advertising and so on.
My father loves Italian food, like pizza, pasta and ravioli.
9. As an example
This phrase is very similar to “for example,” but is more commonly found in writing.
He’s a dangerous criminal. As an example, he killed six women before being tracked down by the police.
English Connectors for Stating Facts and Opinions
Sometimes we feel strongly about a topic or we need to share important information with someone. In these cases, we need to use connectors to make it clear that we’re expressing a fact or an opinion.
The word “actually” is used quite often. As an English connector, you can use it in the beginning, middle or even the end of your sentences! Plus, you can use this connector in casual, formal, writing and conversational situations.
Actually, I think learning English was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Using English connectors isn’t new. Actually, it’s more common than you think.
11. As a matter of fact
You’ll hear this phrase in everyday conversations and see it in writing. Whether you’re in a business setting or you’re chatting with a friend, you can use this helpful connector to prove your point!
Spanish is one of the most commonly spoken languages in the United States. As a matter of fact, there are 53 million speakers!
Going vegan is actually pretty easy. As a matter of fact, I don’t miss meat at all!
12. In Fact
This is a phrase you’ll hear quite a lot in writing and conversation! It can also be used in both, formal and informal settings. It’s typically used after you state your opinion or a fact to support it with another.
We haven’t had any success using this method in the past. In fact, I don’t think it’ll work this time either.
I love chocolate chip cookies. In fact, I make them every day.
English Connectors for Emphasizing an Idea
Often while discussing an issue, we want to focus on a particular point or example. To make the listener understand the importance of that specific idea, we can use the following connectors.
13. Most Importantly
This is used most commonly in written and formal contexts, especially in essays and reports. However, you might hear it in everyday conversation from time to time, too!
Most importantly, without sunlight, there would be no life on this planet.
When writing an essay, you have to be organized. Most importantly, you have to be clear about what you want to say.
“Especially” can be spoken or written in both formal and informal contexts.
Leila needs some new paints, especially for her hand-drawn comics.
I love listening to music, especially rock and roll!
15. Most Notably
This connector is used in a formal scenario, usually in writing.
Thomas Edison is credited with many discoveries, most notably with the invention of the light bulb.
Mark Twain is a famous writer, most notably for his book “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”
16. Of particular significance
This phrase is only used in writing, especially in reports and essays.
Of particular significance is his work on child psychology.
Anna’s baking skills are of particular significance.
English Connectors for Expressing Similar Ideas and Making Comparisons
Sometimes we need to draw attention to certain similarities in order to make a point or explain something. This is especially important in writing!
To make better comparisons, use the following English connectors.
“Similarly” is regularly used formally and informally, both in speech and writing.
You’re pretty good at math. Similarly, you’re a genius in science!
John is a hard worker. Similarly, he’s consistent and never gives up.
18. (In) the Same Way/Manner
These phrases can be spoken or written in any context.
The detective solved this mystery in the same manner: by careful observation and investigating.
I learned English on my own. In the same way, I’m learning Russian.
These words are usually used in written assignments, often at the beginning of new paragraphs to ensure they’re connected to the overall topic. Plus, these also work great as transitions. In other words, you can use these words to make new sentences and paragraphs flow with others.
Additionally, the novel also explores racism in America in the twentieth century.
Learning a language with flashcards is a method used by lots of people for many years. Moreover, it’s great for remembering everything you’ve learned!
20. As well as
Another useful phrase that can be applied in any context is “as well as.”
My sister is a painter as well as an excellent dancer.
Physics contains a lot of science as well as math.
The word “likewise” is used mostly in formal settings, and is used similarly to the word “also.”
Organize the papers in this drawer and, likewise, the ones on his desk.
My friend Emily likewise studied English.
English Connectors for Expressing Differences
Sometimes we need to express different or contradicting ideas side-by-side. Doing this helps the listener or reader focus on important differences and makes them aware of the many sides of a topic. These connectors also help to connect different sentences into a single sentence.
This is used both formally and casually, both in writing and in conversations.
Bill is good at writing, whereas Maria is good at speaking.
Spanish has verb conjugations, whereas Chinese doesn’t.
23. Although/Even Though
Another popular connector, “although” can be used in any context.
Although Rose was a hard-working student, she failed the entrance exam.
Even though you’re young, you’re very mature.
The word “however” is very similar to “whereas,” “although” and “even though.” But it’s especially useful in connecting different paragraphs and sentences.
You can think of it as meaning the same thing as the word “but.”
You’re very healthy! However, you still need to exercise.
Salads are good for you. However, sometimes they’re expensive.
25. On the Other Hand
This connector can be spoken or written in any context.
Those shoes look good on you! On the other hand, do you have enough money for them?
Eating chocolate every once in a while is okay. On the other hand, eating chocolate every day is bad for your health.
26. In Spite of
“In spite of” is a great phrase to know and is similar to “even though” or “although.”
In spite of the bitterness, I still like black coffee.
Kate and Mary are good friends, in spite of their different personalities.
This is a more common way to say “in spite of” and can be used in every situation.
Despite warning her, she still went into the scary woods.
I want to get more work done, despite being tired.
28. On the Contrary
This phrase is usually used in written formal contexts, especially in essays.
On the contrary, I think he’s quite innocent and deserves a chance to explain himself.
Many people believe that Earth is the only planet with living creatures. On the contrary, I believe in aliens.
English Connectors for Expressing a Sequence
These connectors are useful when you’re giving step-by-step instructions or you’re listing points.
29. Firstly… Secondly…
These are spoken and written in both casual and formal contexts.
Firstly, you need to mix the flour, baking soda and cocoa powder together. Secondly, you need to carefully add the milk.
30. First of All
This is another great way to introduce your points and list them chronologically.
First of all, I think learning another language is easy. Second of all, it only takes a few minutes a day.
31. In the First/Second Place
These connectors are used commonly in speech, writing, formal and informal contexts.
He isn’t qualified to talk about the fight. He wasn’t even there in the first place.
“Lastly” can be used in any context to state the “last” point of a topic. It’s a great way to conclude your thoughts!
Lastly, the effects of the chemicals must be taken into consideration.
This word can be used both formally and informally. When used in writing, it’s an excellent way to begin the last or the second-last paragraph. When used in speech, you can use it to give the final instructions or end a conversation.
Finally, mix all the ingredients well.
English Connectors for Concluding
Finally, how do you let your reader know that you’ve reached the end?
There are certain connectors that we usually use during conclusions or when we’ve reached the end of what we wanted to say. When writing or stating conclusions, you usually repeat the most important points.
34. In Conclusion
This phrase is used in formal writing as a way to begin the last or “concluding” paragraph in an essay or report.
In conclusion, we can’t ignore the role modern science plays in our everyday lives.
35. To Summarize
This phrase is used both in speech and writing.
To summarize, you need to directly confront Kevin about the matter we’ve just discussed.
36. To Sum up
“Sum up” can be used casually, formally, in writing or in conversations!
To sum up, I think Kayla should go to the party.
37. All in All
This phrase is used in conversations as well as in writing, but mostly in a casual way.
All in all, organizing a surprise birthday party for Josh was certainly worth it.
Now that you know the most commonly-used English connectors, you can use them in sentences and paragraphs with great confidence. Try your hand at some of the exercises I’ve suggested for practice.
So what are you waiting for?
Get out there and start incorporating these useful English connectors in your everyday life!
Archita Mittra is a freelance writer, journalist, editor and educator. Feel free to check out her blog or contact her for freelancing/educational inquiries.
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