Connecting parts of the sentence

Lexical discourse cues

Lexical discourse cues are essential elements of the language which connect different parts of the discourse. Producing complex and coherent structures indicates proficiency and fluency in the language, this is why lexical discourse cues are so necessary.

a) Lexical discourse cues are discourse markers, coordinating and subordinating conjunctions. Each will be used in different ways and for different purposes. The following is a list with the most common ones:

CONTRAST

But, whereas, on the other hand, unlike, although, however, in spite of, despite (the fact that), nevertheless, instead, while, though.

CAUSE AND EFFECT

Because (of), due to, for that reason, since, as a result, consequently, therefore, thus, so that, in order to.

EMPHASIS

In fact, as a matter of fact, that means, indeed, in other words, actually.

EXAMPLE

For example, for instance, to illustrate.

ADDITION

In addition, additionally, and, moreover, furthermore, not only… but also, besides, as well as.

TIME

First(ly), second(ly), then, when, while, meanwhile, as soon as, next, eventually, before long.

CONCLUSION

To conclude, to sum up, in summary, in short, in conclusion, to summarize, as we have seen.

CONDITION

If, as long as, provided, even if, only if, otherwise.

b) The differences between subordinating conjunctions, coordinating conjunctions and discourse markers are the following:

  • Coordinating conjunctions join two independent sentences

          Lisa is 4 years-old and John is four.

This is a typical acronym used to remember them:

 

F = for
A = and
N = nor
B = but
O = or
Y = yet
S = so

 

  • Subordinating conjunctions join a subordinate clause to a main clause.

             He asked if the train was delayed.

 

Here´s a list:

after how till ( or ’til)
although if unless
as inasmuch until
as if in order to when
as long as lest whenever
as much as now that where
as soon as provided (that) wherever
as though since while
because so that
before than
even if that
even though though

Some subordinated conjunctions are usually followed by noun phrases:

             After the Second World War, Hungary’s international role changed.

Here’s a list of them:

In contrast to – Because of – In addition to – different from – due to – unlike – as a result of – Similar to  – Despite – Before / after – Like – in spite of – until – since- during

  • Linking words/phrases, sentence connectors or discourse markers  join two independent clauses but with a semicolon (;) or period (.). They can occur in the initial, middle and final position.

             The company’s profits weren’t very high last month. Therefore, I decided to call a meeting.

 Here’s a list:

Therefore – however- in addition-  in fact-  thus- in contrast- furthermore-          as a matter of fact- consequently- on the other hand- moreover- indeed- as a result- instead- besides- hence-  rather- additionally- for this reason-  however First- similarly- otherwise- nevertheless-   second-  likewise-   Afterward-  still- After that- Later-   Then / Next- on the contrary- On the whole- For example- in other words- In conclusion- In general- For instance-  that means (that)- To conclude- Generally- To illustrate- In summary- Generally speaking- To summarize- As we have seen- In short

c) It’s important to know how to use these lexical cues in context. Some of them are more formal than others and are, therefore, only used in writing. Here are some examples of formal and informal lexical discourse cues:

+ INFORMAL                                                                  + FORMAL

BECAUSE (OF)

AND, BESIDES, AS WELL AS

BUT, WHEREAS, ALTHOUGH

AS WE HAVE SEEN, IN SHORT

CONSEQUENTLY, THEREFORE, THUS

IN ADDITION, ADDITIONALLY, MOREOVER

NEVERTHELESS, ON THE OTHER HAND

TO CONCLUDE, IN CONCLUSION

Doing this practice exercise will help you to learn them.

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