Connecting Words- Elegant Options

connecting words

You can improve your writing, as well as your comprehension by learning different connecting words to express the same ideas.

If you are a high intermediate or advanced English student, it is worth your time to familiarizing yourself with these words.

As well (as)


As a result

Due to
As a result
As long as

Just as
Prior to


Let’s look at the options for each of these connecting words:

Options for AND
Options for BUT
Options for SO
Options for BECAUSE
Options for BEFORE
Options for AFTER

Options for AND

Furthermore and moreover both signify addition.

Johanna is punctual, and furthermore, she has excellent people skills.

I don’t tolerate rudeness. Moreover, this is the third time we’ve spoken about this.

As well, too, and also can go at the end of sentences.

You like dark chocolate? I like it as well. I like it too. I like it also.

Also can go in different places, to change the meaning of the sentence slightly.

Also, you can have cake. – You can have cake in addition to something else.

You can also have cake. – You can have cake, like others can.

You can have cake also. – You can have something specific, and cake in addition to this.

Options for BUT

However should not be the first word in a sentence, according to traditional grammars. However, we often do this in modern writing.

Whereas can be used at the beginning of a sentence, to introduce how something has changed, or is in contrast.

Whereas people used to think that the world is flat, we now know that the planet is round.

You can use it to introduce a dependent clause, in the same way that we use but.

Most of the guests want chicken for dinner, whereas Lisa is vegetarian.

Nonetheless is used to mean ‘in spite of what I just said’.

I understand that something came up. Nonetheless, you should have phoned to let me know you’d be late.

Though means the same thing as nonetheless when it is at the beginning of a sentence.

Though something came up, you still should have phoned to let me know you’d be late.

It can also be used as however, by placing it at the end of a sentence.

I don’t usually enjoy romantic comedies. I don’t mind watching one with you today, though.


You will often see yet as an adverb at the end of Present Perfect sentences, where it means ‘not up to this point in time’.

I haven’t gone to the museum yet.

We can also use it to signify ‘even more’.

Wow! You’re having yet another piece of cake!

As conjunction, it means but.

We were tired, yet we kept going.

Options for SO

There is nothing wrong with using so to express causation. You can also use as a result.

I stayed up late last night, so/as a result I’m tired this morning.

It’s good to be familiar with options for so, but I don’t recommend using them in day to day speech or informal writing. There are other ways to express causation in English.

Therefore and hence

Both of these conjunctive adverbs are very formal, should be used sparingly, even in academic and business speaking and writing.

The company didn’t make the expected profits this year. Therefore/Hence, we can not give the staff bonuses.

As a result is going to be your best choice in most cases. It’s clear, and doesn’t sound overly formal or old fashioned.

Consequently, and ergo are adverbs that can be used in the same way as therefore and hence.

Options for BECAUSE

For is a preposition that has different meanings, depending on how it it used in a sentence. Some common uses of for are:

For the purpose of – Marta uses the shovel for digging up weeds in her garden.
For someone – These flowers are for you.
For a quantity of time – Sandra has been in Miami for two months.

When we use it as replacement for because, it signifies that something occurs as a result of something else. It means the same thing, but has a more poetic tone.

For the reason that – I will bring a jacket, because/for it will be chilly.

Since is a time expression, used to talk about the relationship of point in the past to the present. If we rewrite the Present Perfect sentence above, Sandra has been in Miami since December.

Here, we want to focus on since as a causal conjunction, as another way to say because. In this case, because and since can be used interchangeably. Since suggests a slightly more subtle causal relationship that because, but the difference is negligible.

James is staying home today, because/since he is sick.

Avoid using since when it is unclear what role it plays in the sentence. If there is any doubt, use because instead. For example:

We drank coffee since you brought it.

Does this mean that we have been drinking coffee from the time you brought it, or that we drank some coffee because you brought it? To make it clear that you are speaking correctly, and implying causation, use because.

We drank coffee because you brought it.

Due to and as a result both express a very strong, direct causation, and can make you sound legalistic and stuffy if they are overused.

As long as means that if one condition is met, it results in another condition.

As long as you are honest with me, I will help you.

Because you are honest with me, you will receive my help. If you stop being honest with me, I will withdraw my help.

You can also use as long as in the sense of if.

Options for BEFORE

Beforehand implies anticipation of an event, either one that was planned for, or that is being planned for.

The meeting is in three days. I must get these reports done beforehand.

Just as means at the same time, or just slightly before.

It started to rain just as we arrived.

Earlier and previously are adverbs that can all be used to refer to a time that came before now.

We were talking about politics earlier/previously.

Prior to is a preposition, so it must connect two parts of a sentence.

We were talking about politics prior to your arrival.

Options for AFTER

Afterward has a narrower time frame than after. It means than a something will occur directly after something else.

We are going to meet for dinner at the cafe. We are going to the theater afterward.

It is grammatically correct to exchange after for afterward in this sentence. In terms of style, though, afterward is more satisfying. After has many roles, including serving as preposition that requires a time clause. In this example, the sentence would be correct, but it doesn’t feel as complete.

Note that sometimes you will encounter an added ‘s’ to the word, especially in British English. There is no semantic difference between afterward and afterwards.

Next means immediately adjacent to, in either place, rank or time. It can serve as an adjective, adverb, or preposition. In this context, it is an adverb, that tells us that something occurred directly after something else.

The neighbours renovated their bathroom. Next, they expanded their patio.

Then is a useful synonym for next or after. It is especially handing when you want to talk about a sequence where many things occurred, and don’t want to repeat yourself.

First, we spent a few days in Bogota. Next, we went to the Coffee Region. After that, we flew to Cartagena. Then we…

Subsequently means at a later time, and is usually used in intellectual, scientific, and legal conversations.

We will explore the ramifications of this subsequently.

Subsequently, the defendant confessed to the crime.

Later is an adverb for something that happens anytime after something else.

I will finish college. I’ll worry about getting a job later.

See you later!

Try the Business English Connecting Words Quiz about Unions.