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Discourse Markers

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  1. Discourse Markers A ‘short’ guide

  2. What are they and why should I care? • They add meaning • They warn of upcoming types of information • They structure speech or writing • Correct use is a sign of advanced English knowledge

  3. with regard to, regarding, as for • With regard to the latest market figures we can see that ... • Regarding our efforts to improve the local economy, we have made ... • As for John's thoughts, let's take a look at this report he sent me. These expressions focus attention on what follows in the sentence. This is done by announcing the subject in advance.

  4. (well) now, anyway, as regards, as regards, as far as ……… is concerned, guess what? • Well / anyway, here’s the problem. • His grades in science subjects are excellent. As regards humanities … • As far as I am concerned, we should continue to develop our resources. • Guess what? I won the lottery! Indicate a subject change or returning to the subject.

  5. on the other hand; while; whereas, at least • Football is popular in England, while / whereas in Australia they prefer cricket. • Shopping has become cheaper. On the other hand, wages have fallen. • Tom’s looking for a new job, at least that’s what he says. These expressions give expression to two ideas which contrast but do not contradict each other.

  6. however, nonetheless, nevertheless, still, but, mind you, yet, admittedly, on the contrary • Smoking is dangerous to the health. Nonetheless, / still 40% of the population smokes. • Our teacher promised to take us. However, / but he changed his mind last week. • Peter was warned not to invest. Nevertheless,/ yet he invested and lost everything. • People say that it’s easy to find work. On the contrary, it is very difficult. All these expressions are used to present two contrasting ideas

  7. moreover, furthermore, in addition, by the way, also, besides, I mean, actually • The problem is extremely frustrating. Moreover, there seems to be no easy solution. • I assured him that I would come. Furthermore, I also invited a guest. • Our food bills have been increasing steadily. In addition, our telephone costs have doubled. • Mary bought a car. Actually it was a rather an expensive one. I mean, for Mary to buy. • Besides the promotion, she’ll get a big pay rise. We use these expressions to add information to what has been said. The usage of these words is much more elegant than just making a list or using the conjunction 'and'. ‘Actually’ might indicate that this is surprising.

  8. therefore, as a result, consequently, after all, accordingly, hence, thus • He reduced his amount of time studying. As a result, / Hence his marks were rather low. • We've lost over 3,000 customers. Consequently / thus , we have been forced to cut costs. • The council has reduced its spending. Therefore, local services have been cut. • After all, because of the cuts, job loses could have been expected. These expressions show that the second statement follows logically from the first statement.

  9. with regard to, regarding, as for • With regard to the latest market figures we can see that ... • Regarding our efforts to improve the local economy, we have made ... • As for John's thoughts, let's take a look at this report he sent me. These expressions focus attention on what follows in the sentence. This is done by announcing the subject in advance.

  10. assuming that, provided that, given that, as long as, due to, since • Assuming that / providing that he’s in, he’ll want to come. • Given that / since she’s quite deaf, we will have to talk loudly. • As long as he keeps eating, he’ll soon get well. • Due to rain, the event had to be cancelled. A limiting condition or reason is being supplied before a statement.

  11. … and on it goes: so to speak, well, let’s see, oh!, erm, you know • Sources: • Beare, K. (2009). “Discourse Markers - Linking Your Ideas in English” [online]. Retrieved 13th March 2009 from: http://esl.about.com/cs/advanced/a/a_dmark.htm • Swann, M. (2005). Practical English Usage. 3rd Edn. Oxford; OUP Test yourself at: http://www.oup.com/elt/global/products/headway/advanced/a_grammar/unit04/hwy_adv_unit04_2/

  12. And now, a short test….