Connecting sentences with conjunctions and transitional adverbs

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.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I'm Manjusha. This is my blog where I give IELTS preparation tips.

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