Discourse Markers - Linking Your Ideas in English

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Some words and phrases help to develop ideas and relate them to one another. These kinds of words and phrases are often called discourse markers. Note that most of these discourse markers are formal and used when speaking in a formal context or when presenting complicated information in writing.

with regard to / regarding / as regards / as far as ……… is concerned / as for

These expressions focus attention on what follows in the sentence.

This is done by announcing the subject in advance. These expressions are often used to indicate a change of subject during conversations. 

His grades in science subjects are excellent. As regards humanities …
With regard to the latest market figures we can see that ...
Regarding our efforts to improve the local economy, we have made ...
As far as I am concerned, we should continue to develop our resources.
As for John's thoughts, let's take a look at this report he sent me.

on the other hand / while / whereas

These expressions give expression to two ideas which contrast but do not contradict each other. 'While' and 'whereas' can be used as subordinating conjunctions to introduce contrasting information. 'On the other hand' should be used as an introductory phrase of a new sentence connecting information.

Football is popular in England, while in Australia they prefer cricket.
We've been steadily improving our customer service center. On the other hand our shipping department needs to be redesigned.
Jack thinks we're ready to begin whereas Tom things we still need to wait.

however / nonetheless / nevertheless

All these words are used to to begin a new sentence which contrasts two ideas. These words are often used to show the something is true despite not being a good idea. 

Smoking is proved to be dangerous to the health. Nonetheless, 40% of the population smokes.
Our teacher promised to take us on a field trip. However, he changed his mind last week.
Peter was warned not to invest all of his savings in the stock market. Nevertheless, he invested and lost everything.

moreover / furthermore / in addition

We use these expressions to add information to what has been said. The usage of these words is much more elegant than just making a list or using the conjunction 'and'.

His problems with his parents are extremely frustrating. Moreover, there seems to be no easy solution to them.
I assured him that I would come to his presentation. Furthermore, I also invited a number of important representatives from the local chamber of commerce.
Our energy bills have been increasing steadily. In addition to these costs, our telephone costs have doubled over the past six months.

therefore / as a result / consequently

These expressions show that the second statement follows logically from the first statement.

He reduced the amount of time studying for his final exams. As a result, his marks were rather low.
We've lost over 3,000 customers over the past six months. Consequently, we have been forced to cut back our advertising budget.
The government has drastically reduced its spending. Therefore, a number of programs have been canceled.

Check our understanding of these discourse markers with this short quiz. Provide an appropriate discourse marker in the gap. 

  1. We've done a great job on the grammar. ______________ listening, I'm afraid we still have some work to do.
  1. __________ Americans tend to eat quickly and leave the table, Italians prefer to linger over their food. 
  2. The company will introduce three new models next spring. __________, they expect profit to rise considerably. 
  3. He was excited to go to the movies. ____________, he knew that he needed to finish studying for an important exam.
  4. She warned him repeatedly not to believe everything he said. __________, he continued believing him until he found out that he was a compulsive liar. 
  5. We need to consider every angle before we begin. _________, we should speak with a number of consultants on the matter. 

Answers

  1. With regard to / Regarding / As regards / As for
  2. while / whereas
  3. Therefore / As a result / Consequently
  4. However / Nonetheless / Nevertheless
  5. On the other hand
  6. In addition / Moreover / Furthermore