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List Of Discourse Markers For Essays Online

Discourse markers are essentially linking words. They show how one piece of conversation is connected to another piece of conversation.

While some discourse markers are only used in informal language, others are very formal and fit for academic contexts.

There are quite a few discourse markers in English. Here, you will find some of the most common among them.

Mind you / still

Mind you is mainly used in an informal style. It is used to suggest that what you are going to say contradicts what has already been said. The linking word still has very similar meanings.

Study the examples given below.

  • Miners work for long hours in potentially dangerous conditions. Mind you, they are adequately compensated for the work they do.

Here the second statement contradicts the first statement in some way.

  • It was the worst job I ever had. Mind you / Still, the money was okay.
  • The exam was tough and I couldn’t answer nearly half of the questions. Still, I passed.

By the way / incidentally

By the way and incidentally are mainly used to indicate a change of topic. They are also used to introduce afterthoughts, but they don’t contradict what has been said before. Incidentally is more formal than by the way.

  • I have finished working on that report and I guess I have done a good job. By the way, when are you going to give me a raise?

However / nevertheless

Both however and nevertheless are used to introduce a second statement that contrasts with the first. They can be used in nearly all situations where mind you and still are also possible. However, these two expressions are mainly used in written English.

  • She didn’t win the contest; however, she managed to deliver a satisfactory performance.

Nevertheless is even more formal.

  • It was a laborious task; nevertheless, we didn’t give up.

In your writing, you will want to spend some time ensuring that your work has a sense of variety. In order to do this, you might think of the following :

Use conjunctions as well as/instead of sentence connectors. A conjunction is a word like ‘and’, ‘but’, etc, which is used to join two ideas together into a complex sentence. Unlike sentence connectors such as ‘However’, etc, a conjunction cannot be used at the beginning of a sentence and must come at a mid-point, at the end of one clause and the beginning of another. It is usually possible to rephrase a pair of sentences that use a sentence connector by using a conjunction instead. For example, instead of saying ‘He studied French; however, his wife studied Physics’, it might actually be more natural to say ‘He studied English but his wife studied Physics’. Similarly, instead of saying ‘English is hard; therefore, one must spend a lot of time practising it’, we can say : ‘English is hard so one must spend a lot of time practising it.’ These are simple examples, but the principle of paraphrase can be extended to other, more complex sentences.

Use conjunctions at least some of the time. Words like ‘and’ and ‘but’ may seem boring, but they help to lighten the style of your writing. This in turn helps the writing to sound less pompous and formal. And in any case, in writing, it is often helpful to use a variety of structures rather than just saying things in one way.

It can also be helpful to omit discourse markersif they do not serve any useful purpose. Knowing when to omit the discourse marker is a subtle aspect of language use and comes with more practice and wider reading.

Try joining two clauses togetherby making one subordinate to the other. If we go back to the sentence ‘He studied English but his wife studied Physics’, we can rephrase this as follows : ‘He studied English whereas his wife studied Physics’, or ‘He studied English while his wife studied Physics.’ The clause beginning with while/whereas issubordinate. this means that it is used to qualify/add extra information to the sentence, but cannot stand on its own.

Remember, it can be tedious to read a piece of writing which has too many discourse markers.The writing can seem pedantic, heavy and over-pompous. You are ideally seeking a light, flowing style, not a heavy or forced one.


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