Signal Words (Cause and Effect, Examples, Similarity, Contrast, Emphasis, etc.)

Signal words can help create transitions between ideas in a paragraph or paper–by giving the reader a hint of what’s to come–a harbinger (hint) things to come–they help the reader make sense of an overall text.

An EXCELLENT site for writing tips across grade is U-WI’s Writing Lab.

Cause and Effect

  • because
  • so
  • therefore
  • thus
  • consequently
  • hence
  • as a result
  • due to
  • since
  • this led to…

Emphasis

  • above all
  • in particular
  • especially
  • significantly
  • indeed
  • notably
  • in fact
  • of course
  •  even
  • truly
  •  clearly

Contrast

  • whereas
  • instead of
  • alternatively
  • otherwise
  • unlike
  • on the other hand…
  • conversely
  • however
  • even though
  • despite
  • on the one hand/on the other hand
  • although
  • in spite of
  • still
  • yet
  • opposed to
  •  in contrast
  • not only / but also
  • nevertheless
  • rather than

Examples

  • for example
  • such as
  • for instance
  • in the case by
  • to illustrate 
  • illustrated by
  • as revealed by
  • as reflected by
  • in the case of
  • specifically
  • namely
  • to illustrate,
  • this can be seen…

Summing Up

  • after all
  • in summary
  • in conclusion
  • in short
  • in essence
  • all things considered

Qualifying

  • but
  • however
  • although
  • unless
  • except
  • only in this case
  • on occasion
  • apart from
  • as long as
  • only if
  • if

Similarity

  • again
  • also
  • equally
  • identically
  • like  / as
  • too
  • similarly
  • likewise
  • as well as
  • additionally
  • in the same way
  • in the same fashion
  • by the same token
  • not only / but also
  • so to
  • another
  • either / or
  • neither / nor
  • alike
  • both

Sequence

  • first, second, third…
  • to  begin with
  • finally
  • next
  • meanwhile
  • at the same time
  • after
  • before
  • then
  • subsequently
  • later
  • soon
  • earlier
  • during
  • afteward
  • eventually
  • last year
  • today, tomorrow
  • shortly before or after
  • not long after
  • almost immediately
  • after a great length of time….
  • an hour passed….

Generalizing

  • the question is, the question becomes
  • the dilemma is, someone is presented with a dilemma
  • the puzzle is…
  • to solve this…
  • conundrum, conflict, turmoil, challenge, nemisis, adversery, foe
  • one (possible) answer / solution, way to approach this, way to address this….

Degree

  • greater than
  • less than
  • stronger/est
  • most clear
  • better
  • least / greatest
  • even more so
  • most important
  • most evident

Problem / Solution

  • for the most part
  • on the whole
  • all in all
  • ordinarily
  • usually
  • on balance
  • most often