By using a range of connecting words you can improve the quality of your essays significantly. In writing we mainly use two types of connecting words: transitional adverbs and conjunctions. Note that there is a difference between these two.
Transitional adverbs do not connect clauses or sentences. They merely ensure the flow of ideas between sentences and paragraphs. Transitional adverbs do not become a grammatical part of the sentence. In fact, you can remove them and the sentence will still be grammatically correct. Examples are: therefore, moreover, generally speaking, in addition and however.
- She wanted to lose weight. Therefore, she decided to go on a diet.
Here the transitional adverb therefore does not connect the two sentences. It is not even grammatically connected to the second sentence.
Transitional adverbs usually go at the beginning of a sentence and are separated off with a comma.
Conjunctions, on the other hand, are grammatically connected to the sentence. If you remove them, there will be ungrammaticality.
- Although she was ill, she went to work.
Here the subordinating conjunction although is grammatically connected to the sentence. We cannot remove although without causing ungrammaticality.
- She was ill she went to work.
The sentence given above is an example of a run-on sentence in which the clauses are neither separated by a full stop nor connected by a conjunction. A run-on sentence is grammatically incorrect and must be avoided in writing.
Note that conjunctions cannot be separated from their clauses with a comma. Many words can be conjunctions or transitional adverbs and this can be confusing. While using these words in writing, students should be able to understand the role they perform.
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