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Exam Study Expert

70+ Connective Words To Power Up Your Essays [COMPREHENSIVE LIST]

by Kerri-Anne Edinburgh | Aug 5, 2021

When you’re writing an essay or assignment, you need to use every trick in the book to maximise your marks. And one of the best tools for radically improving your writing is the power of connective words .

Used correctly, connective words can give your writing new depth and meaning, improve readability (important for your examiner!) and demonstrate the logic of your arguments.

Luckily for you, we’ve got plenty of categories, definitions and connectives examples to help you get started…

Psst – this article uses loads of connectives. See if you can spot them in use: we’ve italicised the best examples!

What are connective words?

Simply put, connectives are words – or phrases – that link parts of your writing together.

You’re probably familiar with the most common connective words: and, as, because, but, if, or, so . In fact, I’ve used a few of them already – did you spot them?

Don’t limit your essay writing to the basics though, because there are hundreds of connectives that can help you to demonstrate different ideas, such as cause and effect , or the chronology of events .

We’re going to explore ten types of connectives below, but first , here’s a quick refresher on the grammar behind connective words:  

Definitions: The grammatical bit

Understanding the grammar behind your writing might not be your thing – but bear with me, because remembering these six definitions will help you know which connective to use when, and where to place them!

(If you’re just looking for examples of connectives, feel free to skip straight past this bit!)

Connectives fall into three grammatical categories: conjunctions, prepositions, and adverbs.

Using adverb and preposition connective words adds specific meaning – and thus clarity – to your writing. They are particularly useful for successful essay signposting .

connectives for essays pdf

Definitions part 2: Connectives in sentences

When using connectives, it’s also important to remember that not all sentences are created equal in importance . And so , when connecting them into longer sentences, different types of connectives create different results:

On the other hand,

A useful type of subordinating connective for essay writing is the:

And that’s your grammar refresh done!

If you’re struggling with essay-writing grammar, a great tool for checking your writing is Grammarly * – we use it at Exam Study Expert because it catches a broad range of mistakes. Their blog is also a great place to learn how to use conjunctions , prepositions , adverbs and more.

How to use connective words

So how do you go about using connectives?

In this section, we’re going to discuss the where, what and how …

connectives for essays pdf

Where to add connectives:

As we’ve seen , connective words are often found in the middle of a sentence, joining two clauses. But don’t forget you can also use them at the beginning of a sentence to link two consecutive sentences – OR two ideas within your paragraphs (did you see what I did there?).

Some of your connectives will even be linking entire paragraphs and sections – these are often examples of signposting to guide the reader through your section or argument.

What’s more , many connectives are not just single words but phrases. These connectives are particularly useful for essay writing and academic vocabulary. For example: as well as, for an example of this, for instance, in addition to, on the other hand, such as .

What to use connectives for:

When you’re writing an essay or assignment there are plenty of tasks you need to achieve: presenting evidence, making arguments and more.

Happily, connectives can help you achieve all these tasks by clarifying your meaning. You can use connectives for:

It’s a long list! So master using connectives and you’ll drastically improve the readability of your writing across all sections of your essay.

How to add in useful connective words:

You’re probably already using basic connectives in your writing.

But if you want to get serious about the benefits to your grades, make sure you’re systematic about how you add them during your essay construction – and (later) proofreading to check they make sense on a large(r) scale!

From experience, I would suggest that the best method for choosing and adding effective connectives is to:

And for that purpose, we’ve compiled four lists of connective words for you – including the TOP 70 connectives for effective essay writing! So read on…

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Types of connective words

So let’s get down to the really useful stuff: examples of connectives you can use in different situations in your essays!

There are three main types of connectives that we’re going to explore in turn:

Comparative connective words

These helpful words and phrases are perfect both for comparing similarities in data and arguments, and for pointing out their differences and oppositions. Use them to compare, discuss and argue.

When comparing points, you’ll often be adding to your argument, so these connectives are used for “ addition ”. The most common connectives for addition are: and, also, furthermore, moreover .

Here are some examples in practice:

On the other hand , you might need to demonstrate and contrast your argument with the opposing point of view with a connective for “ opposition ”. The most commonly used are: alternatively, except, however, unless .

connectives examples

These examples all demonstrate opposition:

Causal connective words

Causal connectives are effective for discussing cause and effect – relationships that have logical links that you want to point out and prove.

As such , academic writing is often full of causal connectives, and many of them demonstrate a very academic vocabulary (great for bonus points in your assignment!).

Most essays and assignments have a section (or several sections!) where you need to draw together your facts, ideas and arguments and point out the connections. These are the connectives to turn to at those moments!

The most commonly used are: as such, as a result (of), because, consequently, therefore, thus .

connective words

Here are some examples:

Temporal connective words

Whether you’re explaining the sequence of events that led to a historical battle, or demonstrating the steps in your experiment, temporal connectives are a highly valuable tool.

They’re all about discussing time and the chronology of events – what happened before, during and after . Therefore , they make for great signposting words too!

temporal connective words

These examples explore each of the four sections in our temporal connectives lists:

The TOP 70 connective words for effective essay writing!

To make sure that you’ve got the tools you need to improve your grades, we’ve compiled this epic list of all the best connectives to use in academic writing.

This is just a selection from the hundreds of connective words and phrases available. So there’s no need to make your essay stale by over-using the same one or two!

If there’s nothing else you grab when you’re ticking off Step #4 from the connectives methodology above – make sure you grab this list!

It covers all the stages of essay structuring and writing, from introduction to conclusion . And includes lists of connectives for:

We’ve highlighted the best and most commonly used connectives for each section to ensure you’ve got THE best resource to improve the quality of your essay immediately.

connective words list

To finish off , here are some examples to get your essay-writing inspiration flowing:

Good luck with your essay!

Now you’ve mastered adding effective connective words to your essay you’re ready for the next step. Be sure to check out our guide on proofreading your assignment before you hand it in. Good luck!

And for more expert, science-backed study resources, sign up to the Exam Study Expert newsletter right here:

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** Please note : Grammarly is one of very few products we’re sufficiently enthusiastic about to recommend to our Exam Study Expert readers, and we may earn a small commission if you sign up to Grammarly services through the above link.

such an informative blog for the aspirants who are preparing for any exams

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