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The Ultimate Guide to Connectors in English



Do you remember when you first started learning English? Your first sentence was probably no longer than 3 or 4 words. Perhaps…I am VictoriaI live in Belgium…I like beer. As you progressed, you probably started adding little conjunctions such as and.

I am Victoria and I live in Belgium.

Then, when you wanted to spice things up, you started connecting sentences, while keeping them as…seperate sentences. So, you most likely used a connector like as a result.

I am Victoria and I live in Belgium. As a result, I like beer. 

Now, surely, just because one lives in Belgium, doesn’t mean that one likes beer. I personally prefer a delicious, full-bodied red wine from the south of France or Italy. However, that was just an example to show you how connectors are used in English. In fact, notice how many connectors have been used in the above text. Can you spot them all?

Here’s a hint: you can usually find them at the beginning of a sentence and followed by a comma.


What is a connector?

Connectors are words that demonstrate the connection between ideas in different sentences, paragraphs, or sections. Connectors add structure and flow to what you’re trying to express. Specifically, they act as a sort of guide and allow your ideas to be understood more easily by your audience. What’s more, connectors can add a certain sophistication to your speech or writing.


What’s the difference between conjunctions and connectors? 

Conjunctions are words that connect clauses or phrases to make one single sentence. A connector, is a word that connects the ideas of two different sentences, phrases, or sections. 

Examples of conjunctions in use: 

I am cold and hungry. 

I want to leave, but I can’t. 

Examples of connectors in use: 

I am cold and hungry. So, I’m going to go inside and have lunch. 

I lost my job. Consequently, I will have trouble playing my bills. 


What are the different types of connectors?

There are many connectors that are used in the English language. Each of them has a certain function. For instance, connectors can be used to express addition, sequence, contrast, a result, and more. Let’s have a look at 6 common uses for connectors.


1. Sequence Connectors

Sequence connectors are used to indicate the order of various steps or actions. Imagine you want to explain to a new customer how to get to your office from the main road. Let’s say that there are 4 steps in the sequence.

Go straight until you reach the grocery store. Turn left. Drive about 100 metres. Turn right.

Technically, you could say just that to your customer. But, it might sound a little robotic. Instead, you might use connectors to help your customer understand that the 4 actions are part of a sequence of actions. Let’s transform the above instructions.

First, go straight until you reach the grocery store. Next, turn left. Then, drive about 100 metres. Finally, turn right. 

Notice how first and finally help our customer undertand where the sequence begins and where it ends?


2. Addition Connectors

Addition connectors help you demonstrate that the idea in one sentence or paragraph supports the idea in the previous one. As an example, we are going to communicate the great qualities of a potential job candidate. Here are a list of these qualities without using any connectors.

She is an expert in strategy. 

She has an MBA

She has over 10 years of experience in the industry. 

Now, let’s connect the shorter sentences with the use of a conjuction. Then, we’ll add the longer sentence with the use of a connector. (Did you notice the sequence connectors used? Wink, wink)

She is an expert in strategy and she has an MBA. Moreover, she has over 10 years of experience in the industry. 


3. Cause & Effect Connectors

If you want to express that an idea is the result of a previous idea, you use cause & effect connectors. What happens when it rains? How do you feel when you get a pay raise? What is the result of a new competitor in the market? Let’s express that with some some cause & effect connectors.

It’s going to be raining all day today. Because of that, the event must be cancelled. 

I got a pay raise! Thanks to that, I can finally buy the computer I wanted. 

There’s a new competitor in the market. Consequently, we’ll have to be more aggressive with our marketing. 


4. Contrast Connectors

Contrast connectors are used to present a contradiction between ideas. This is where connectors such as however, although, nevertheless, and in spite of are used.

I think his idea is great. Nonetheless, it’s too expensive. 

In this example, the idea is great and, perhaps, we should go with it. However, the second sentence completely changes the potential course of action. We undertand that the idea is great, but we’re probably not going to go with it because it’s too expensive. There’s a visible contrast or contradiction between the two sentence.


5. Emphasis Connectors

If you want to add emphasis to your idea, this is the type of connector that you’ll use. You don’t just want to say that your mom’s apple pie is the best. It’s undoubtedly the best! There’s absolutely no possibility that somebody would say otherwise.

Let’s look at how these emphasis connectors help stress the idea that needs to be conveyed.

I have a difficult time waking up early in the morning. Particularly, in winter. 

(It’s difficult for me to wake up. It’s EXTRA difficult in winter.)

He has been late three times this week. Clearly, something is going on.

(There’s no doubt that something is going on with him.)


6. Comparison Connectors

Comparison connectors help you show that there is similarity between two ideas. For instance, if you want to explain that both smartphones and tablets are useful for your business activities, you could say:

My smartphone is essential for my business. Similarly, my tablet is critical for building reports. 


Other resources

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Cheat Sheet | Connectors

Contains 23 examples translated to French


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