Connectors: basic

Overview

A connector is a word that links two similar items (words, phrases, clauses). We usually use them to make sentences more fluid and express more sophisticated ideas:

  • He studied Economics. His sister studied Psychology.
  • He studied Economics, whereas his sister studied Psychology.

Formal x informal

Some connectors express the same idea, but change in terms of formality. We can use them depending on the context to sound more formal or more informal:

  • I don't want to go. I am also going to be busy. (informal)
  • That product is expensive. In addition, We have no need for it. (formal)

Position

Connectors can appear at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of sentences. Some of them are more flexible and can appear in different places:

  • While some people prefer eating out, I love cooking at home.
  • Adam is poor. Nathan, however, is quite rich.
  • The park was crowded. We wanted to go, though.

Structure

Some linking words are followed by a clause (subject + verb + object):

  • I am tired because I played tennis this morning.

Some linking words are followed by just an object:

  • I am tired because of tennis this morning.

Categories

There are many different kinds of connectors (addition, contrast, conclusion, etc):

Meaning Connector
Contrast however, nonetheless, nevertheless, etc.
Addition in addition, moreover, furthermore, etc.
Example for example, for instance, to illustrate, etc.
Conclusion therefore, thus, as a result, etc.
Similarity in the same way, similarly, likewise, etc

It is not always possible to translate connectors very well. In some cases, the translation will be helpful:

  • I have never been to Vienna. However, I have heard it is a beautiful city. Eu nunca fui a Viena. Porém ouvi dizer que é uma cidade linda.

In some other cases, translating will not be so practical:

  • As a matter of fact, what he said was simply absurd.

Instead of translating connectors, it is better to learn some for different situations in context.

Further learning
Description Author Language
When to use though, although and even though. engVid
The difference between 'while' and 'during'. BBC Learning