Most English connectors can be paraphrased with words that are not connectors
THE CONCEPT OF CONNECTOR SYNONYMS
Connectors are defined and examined within this blog in the posts 18. Relations between Sentences, 40. Conjunctions versus Connectors and 121. Sentence-Spanning Adverbs. Their central feature is the help they give in showing the meaning created by placing two sentences together. Often this help falls into the category of “signposting” (see 122. Signpost Words in Multi-Sentence Lists). The meanings resemble conjunction meanings, but they need two sentences for their creation rather than one.
This grammatical need for two sentences means that connector synonyms are not here considered to include conjunctions. I am also ruling out connectors that mean roughly the same as other connectors – for example therefore mirroring consequently. Although such possibilities are what are normally called synonyms, they are not the focus here because many are already listed elsewhere in this blog (see 40. Conjunctions versus Connectors).
Most of the connector synonyms considered here are nouns, verbs and adjectives. It may seem surprising to give words of different classes (different “parts of speech”) the name of synonyms, but that seems a useful thing to do because it arguably gives a better understanding of how people write. This is a point that has been made more than once before in this blog – for example in the posts 27. How to Avoid Passive Verbs and 80. How to Paraphrase – and is also in the technical article How Syntax can Highlight Useful EAP Vocabulary.
It is my hope that the highlighting of connector synonyms defined in this way will help to clarify the range and meanings of both connectors and these “synonyms”, thus enabling readers to widen their vocabulary knowledge.
THE RANGE OF CONNECTOR SYNONYMS
Below is an example of how a connector (on the other hand) can be paraphrased with a grammatically different kind of word, in this case a verb. The connector meaning is that of “contrast”. The connector and its synonym are underlined:
(a) Carbohydrates in the Italian diet frequently take the form of pasta. In many Asian countries, on the other hand, they are most likely to be eaten as rice.
(b) Carbohydrates in the Italian diet frequently take the form of pasta. Many Asian countries differ in preferring rice.
The verb differ in (b) is by no means the only alternative to on the other hand. The following are difference-showing words listed in the post 56. Comparing with “Like” and “Unlike”: unlike, contrast(s), differ(s), varies, different(ly), contrasting, dissimilar, not the same, more and less. Words ending in -self can also be useful (see 143. Problems Using “-self” Words).
In the above sentences, both on the other hand and its synonym differ are inside the second of the two sentences whose meaning link they are helping to show. However, connector synonyms can also form a complete sentence by themselves, positioned between the other two sentences, like this:
(c) Carbohydrates in the Italian diet frequently take the form of pasta. This is not the same everywhere. Many Asian countries prefer rice.
One possible reason for making a link in this way is to give the reader/listener more time to take in what is being said (see 186. Language in Oral Presentations).
Here is a list of other common connectors, along with words and phrases of different grammatical categories that mean roughly the same:
AS A RESULT/CONSEQUENTLY/THUS: consequence, result, outcome, result(s) in, cause(s), make(s), consequent, resultant (see 32. Expressing Consequences).
THEREFORE: mean(s), implies, suggest(s), be concluded, be inferred, conclusion, inference, logical(ly) (see 20. Problem Connectors).
FOR EXAMPLE/FOR INSTANCE/THUS: an example, an instance, one, a case (in point), exemplifies, illustrate(s), etc (and its synonyms), consider, take, imagine (see 33. Complex Example-Giving).
IN ADDITION/MOREOVER/FURTHERMORE/ALSO: additional, further, another, the next, the first/second/third etc. (see 122. Signpost Words in Multi-Sentence Lists).
HOWEVER/NEVERTHELESS/EVEN SO: does not mean, contradict(s), surprising(ly), unexpected(ly), unusual.
SIMILARLY/LIKEWISE/IN THE SAME WAY: resemble(s), mirror(s), similar, no different(ly) comparable, (a)like, analogous(ly), corresponding(ly), comparably, equally, similarly (adverb). For examples of the same word acting as either a connector or an ordinary adverb, see 121. Sentence-Spanning Adverbs. For more about the use of similarity words, see 149. Saying How Things are Similar.
IN FACT/IN REALITY: real, true, actual(ly), reality, truth, the fact of the matter.
ALTERNATIVELY/OTHERWISE: the/an alternative, opposite, alternative, another choice/option/possibility (see 181. Expressing Possibility).
MEANWHILE/IN THE MEANTIME/AT THE SAME TIME/ SIMULTANEOUSLY: this time, simultaneous, parallel, as/while this is happening, during this process.
IN OTHER WORDS/THAT IS TO SAY: mean(s), translated, equate(s) to saying, is tantamount to saying, is another way of saying, more simply, more/less technically, paraphrase(d), rephrase(d), reworded.
CONNECTOR SYNONYMS IN USE
This section is essentially an exercise in the use of connectors and their synonyms. Below are some pairs of sentences. The second sentence in each contains a connector synonym. Readers are invited to rephrase the whole sentence so that it contains a connector instead. Suggested answers are given at the end.
1. Space travel is expensive. This does not mean that people want it to stop.
2. Some male penguins look after incubating eggs. The females spend this time fishing at sea.
3. Some food crops have a non-food use. Take sugar cane. This can be converted into fuel for motor vehicles.
4. Savings can be invested in an interest-bearing bond. Another possibility is to purchase shares with them.
5. Written reports need to be formal and concise. The opposite is true of oral presentations, which usually involve informality and repetition.
6. High population growth rates are sometimes blamed on cultural attitudes. The truth is that poverty is a more likely cause.
7. Success at sport will not come without constant physical exercise. Academic achievement is not so different, requiring regular intellectual challenges.
8. Excessive intake of alcoholic beverages produces deleterious physical effects. What this means is that too much drinking is unhealthy.
9. Ostriches are birds. They are unusual in that they run instead of flying.
10. Some bacteria produce poisonous substances in a number of human foods. These make the foods dangerous to eat.
1. Space travel is expensive. However, people do not want it to stop.
2. Some male penguins look after incubating eggs. Meanwhile, the females fish/are fishing at sea.
3. Some food crops have a non-food use. For example, sugar cane can be converted into fuel for motor vehicles.
4. Savings can be invested in an interest-bearing bond. Alternatively, shares can be purchased with them.
5. Written reports need to be formal and concise. On the other hand, oral presentations usually involve informality and repetition.
6. High population growth rates are sometimes blamed on cultural attitudes. In fact, poverty is a more likely cause.
7. Success at sport will not come without constant physical exercise. Similarly, academic achievement requires regular intellectual challenges.
8. Excessive intake of alcoholic beverages produces deleterious physical effects. In other words, too much drinking is unhealthy.
9. Ostriches are birds. Nevertheless, they run instead of flying.
10. Some bacteria produce poisonous substances in a number of human foods. As a result, the foods become dangerous to eat.