#274: How to Use Linking Words in English | However, Instead, Therefore

May 10, 2023 | Advanced Vocabulary, Confusing Words in English

Did you know words such as however, instead, meanwhile, and therefore help your speech to flow? They create smooth transitions from one sentence to the next. 

I like to think of these words as creating a bridge between sentences or ideas.

Without that bridge, there may be an unexpected or abrupt gap between ideas, which can confuse your listeners. 


Right now you might be thinking, “That sounds great… but I don’t really know how to use them or what those words mean.” 

I hear you. And that’s why I’m sharing this lesson today.


These linking words – known as conjunctive adverbs in English grammar – are essential for clear, confident communication in English.

In fact, linking words are a crucial component of fluent and cohesive English communication. They help to connect ideas, show relationships between sentences, and create a logical flow of thought.

In this Confident English lesson, you’ll learn how to use linking words to compare and contrast as well as how to show cause and effect and progression.

Plus, you’ll learn what common linking words — such as however, instead, meanwhile — mean as well as how they are used in context. These words are commonly used in both written and spoken English, and can greatly enhance the clarity and coherence of your communication.

By the end of this lesson, you’ll have a solid understanding of how to use these essential linking words in your English communication for improved fluency and cohesion! 

Related Lessons:


Linking Words in English | However, Instead, Therefore and More

What Are Conjunctive Adverbs

To start, let’s get a clear understanding of how these English linking words or conjunctive adverbs work and why they’re important.

A conjunctive adverb is an adverb (such as however or accordingly) or an adverb phrase (such as on the other hand or as a result) that joins two related ideas together, creating a bridge or smooth transition.

They’re also known as linking words.

More important, conjunctive adverbs have a job to do.

When used in a sentence, they

  1. Show a connection between two ideas/thoughts in one sentence;
  2. Link the ideas/thoughts mentioned through two or more sentences;
  3. Clarify the relationships between ideas/thoughts within an independent clause.

What this means is they help us to

  • Compare/contrast
  • Show cause and effect
  • Indicate progression or sequence

How to use conjunctive adverbs in writing? 

Conjunctive adverbs are used in speaking and writing. 

There are a few specific rules when using these linking words in writing.

When it connects two ideas/thoughts in a sentence, we use a semicolon before it and a comma after it. 

  • Ex. “My daughter broke her arm while climbing a tree; consequently, she won’t be to write her homework for school for the next few weeks.

When conjunctive adverbs are used to connect ideas across several sentences or indicate the relationship between ideas it is followed by a comma.

  • Ex. “Lina, however, will be joining us for the meeting tomorrow.
  • Ex. “However, Lina will be joining us for the meeting tomorrow.”

And now, let’s look at specific conjunctive adverbs we use to indicate contrast, comparison, cause and effect, and progression.

In each case, I’ll share specific examples of linking words with sentences as well.

Conjunctive Adverbs for Contrast

  • However
    • Def: used to introduce a statement that contrasts with or seems to contradict something that has been said previously; means despite whatever manner, way, or degree
    • Ex. “There may, however, be a good reason why Nina couldn’t come to the party.
  • Conversely
    • Def: in a reversed manner or relationship; opposite way
    • Ex. “Kelly has a sweet tooth; conversely, her husband prefers savory foods.”
  • Instead
    • Def: to indicate substitution or replacement; alternatively
    • Ex. “We had planned to see a movie and then go to dinner. By the time we got there, the movie was over; instead, we chose to go straight to the restaurant.
  • On the other hand
    • Def: in contrast to the previous statement; presents a different point of view
    • Ex. “I’d love to implement this new social media strategy; on the other hand, I think it will take longer than we think to implement.

Conjunctive Adverbs for Comparison

  • Likewise
    • Def: in the same way
    • Ex. “We offer a great benefits package to our employees; likewise, we also offer competitive salaries.” 
  • Similarly
    • Def: in like style, way, or manner 
    • Ex. “Similarly, cyclists must also stop at red lights.

Conjunctive Adverbs for Cause & Effect

  • Accordingly
    • Def: in agreement with; correspondingly
    • Ex. “Classes are canceled today; accordingly, you’ll be given an extra day to study for your upcoming test.
  • Hence
    • Def: because of a preceding fact/premise
    • Ex. “The project deadline has changed and we’ll need to finish this earlier than expected; hence, we’ll need everyone on the team to shift their focus until this project is complete.
  • Therefore
    • Def: for that reason, cause, or purpose (refers to previously mentioned idea/thought)
    • Ex. “We’ve accidentally doubled booked the meeting room; therefore, we’ll have to ask you to move your meeting to a later time.
  • Consequently
    • Def: as a negative result of something
    • Ex. “I spent most of my money on the renovations and, consequently, could not buy a car.

Conjunctive Adverbs for Progression/Sequence

  • Subsequently
    • Def: at a later time; following right after in time or place
    • Ex. “The third quarter losses were unforeseen. The company, subsequently, laid off 50 employees.
  • Then
    • Def: at a later time; following after in time
    • Ex. “Then, the company filed for bankruptcy.
  • Finally
    • Def: at the end or conclusion; ultimately or lastly
    • Ex. “Finally, I believe it’s important to advocate for gender equity in the workplace.
    • Note: We also use ordinal numbers as conjunctive adverbs to indicate a sequence (i.e. first, second, third, etc.)
  • Incidentally
    • Def: used to introduce a related idea/thought, after the main topic is mentioned, but with less importance.
    • Ex. “We loved the play; incidentally, remind me to send you the directions to the theater.”

Conjunctive Adverbs for Time

  • Meanwhile
    • Def: until something expected happens; while something else is happening
    • Ex. “The cake should cool for at least an hour. Meanwhile, begin preparing the buttercream.
  • Lately
    • Def: of late; recently
    • Ex. “Lately, I’ve been walking to work instead of taking the bus.
  • Now
    • Def: at the present time; also used when beginning to tell someone about something
    • Ex. “Now, keep in mind that New York is a busy city with millions of people.”
    • Ex. “It took Zena many years to sharpen her skills; now, she mentors young people across the city.”

    It’s time to practice!

    Read the paragraphs below and determine which conjunctive adverbs from today’s lesson would be appropriate to use in each blank.

    Practice 1:

    Stress is a common issue in today’s fast-paced world; (1) _______, it can be managed effectively with some simple techniques. (2) Taking breaks throughout the day or going for a walk can help alleviate stress; _________, meditating can help as well. 

    Practice 2:

    Imagine a team leader in a meeting saying… 

    (3) The scope of this product launch is much broader than initially anticipated; ________, I’ll need to re-evaluate our priorities and will ask a few team members to shift their focus to the launch so we can meet our deadlines. (4) ________, Susan and Ahmed, I’ll keep you on rebranding the campaign for XYZ Company as we have some important deadlines approaching for that project as well.


    You can share your answers — as well as your questions — with me in the comments below. I’ll also add possible answers at the top of the comment section.

    ~ Annemarie


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