Pivotal Words

Found this helpful word list – enjoy!

No words are as helpful while reading as the prepositions and conjunctions that guide your mind along the pathways of the author’s ideas. A word like furthermore says, “Keep going!” However says, “Easy!” Master these words and phrases and you will almost immediately become a better writer, for they will whisper directions in your inner ear.

Additive words – “Here’s more of the same coming up. It’s just as important as what we have already said.”

  • also
  • further
  • moreover
  • furthermore
  • too
  • besides
  • in addition

Equivalent words –  “It does what I have just said, but it does this too.”

  • as well as
  • at the same time
  • similarly
  • equally important
  • likewise

Amplification words – the author is saying, “I want to be sure that you understand my idea; so here’s a specific instance.”

  • for example (e.g.)
  • specifically
  • as
  • for instance
  • such as
  • like

Alternative words –  “Sometimes there is a choice; other times there isn’t.”

  • either/or
  • other than
  • neither/nor
  • otherwise

Repetitive words –  “I said it once, but I’m going to say it again in case you missed it the first time.”

  • again
  • in other words
  • to repeat
  • that is(i.e.)

Contrast and change words – “So far I’ve given you only one side of the story; now let’s take a look at the other side.”

  • but
  • on the contrary
  • still
  • conversely
  • on the other hand
  • though
  • despite
  • instead of
  • yet
  • however
  • rather
  • than
  • regardless
  • nevertheless
  • even though
  • whereas
  • in spite of
  • notwithstanding

Cause and effect words –  “All this has happened; now I’ll tell you why.”

  • accordingly
  • since
  • then
  • because
  • so
  • thus
  • consequently
  • hence
  • therefore
  • for this reason

Qualifying words – “Here is what we can expect. These are the conditions we are working under.”

  • if
  • although
  • unless
  • providing
  • whenever

Concession words – “Okay! We agree on this much.”

  • accepting the data
  • granted that
  • of course

Emphasizing words –  “Wake up and take notice!”

  • above all
  • more important
  • indeed

Order words –  “You keep your mind on reading: I’ll keep the numbers straight.”

  • finally
  • second
  • then
  • first
  • next
  • last

Time words –  “Let’s keep the record straight on who said what and especially when.”

  • afterwards
  • meanwhile
  • now
  • before
  • subsequently
  • presently
  • formerly
  • ultimately
  • previously
  • later

Summarizing words –  “We’ve said many things so far. Let’s stop here and pull them together.”

  • for these reasons
  • in brief
  • in conclusion
  • to sum up

©Academic Skills Center, Dartmouth College 2001

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