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Connectives are ‘linking words’ that establish a logical relationship between actions, ideas or phrases. They are used in discussions and when formulating an argument, and are essential in formal written English.

Connectives of Contrast

Although (embora) & Despite (apesar de)

These have essentially the same meaning but notice how the structure differs in usage. ‘Although’ is used at the beginning or the middle of a sentence. ‘Despite’ is followed either by an ‘ing’ verb or ‘determiner + noun’.  

               Although I wasn’t hungry I ate two plates of spaghetti.

               Despite not being hungry I ate two plates of spaghetti.

               The Board voted for a pay rise, although some of them had reservations.

               The Board voted for a pay rise despite its reservations.

However (entretanto) and Nevertheless (mesmo assim)

‘However’ and ‘Nevertheless’ carry a little more emphasis than ‘although’ and are most effectively used at the beginning of a new sentence linking back to a previous one.

               Several board members objected to the pay rise. However, the CEO overruled their objections.

               Several board members objected but were overruled nevertheless.

Other common connectives of contrast:

Even though – same as ‘although’ but with more emphasis.

Though – same as ‘although’.

In spite of – the same as ‘despite’.

Connectives of Comparison

Whereas (enquanto) & While (enquanto)

‘Whereas’ is used in comparisons where there is no causal relationship between the two facts or ideas. One fact does not explain the other.

               Whereas Saturn is relatively close to the Sun, Pluto is relatively far.

               While my mother loves dogs, I prefer to keep a cat.

Other common connectives of comparison:

Unlike / Conversely / Similarly / Likewise

Connectives of Conclusion

Therefore (portanto or logo)

‘Therefore’ suggests that the second idea or phrase is the logical conclusion from the first.

               The value of the dollar is expected to rise soon, therefore now would be a good time to buy.

Thus and hence have the same meaning as therefore.

Other common connectives of conclusion:

Consequently / As a consequence / Accordingly

Connectives of Addition

In Addition to, Furthermore and Moreover (alem disso)

‘In addition’ is a common way of adding ideas or phrases to support an argument. ‘Furthermore’ and ‘moreover’ are more formal ways of saying the same thing and are therefore found mostly only in formal written English.

In addition to the problems with the client, I had the supplier telling me that he wanted the payment in advance.

Beyond (alem de) and Besides

‘Beyond’ and ‘besides’ are less formal ways of saying ‘in addition to’.

               Besides having to go to the bank, I had to pick up the dry cleaning.

               I had problems far beyond the ones that my boss was aware of.

Other common connectives of addition:

As well as / Additionally / Also / Worse yet / What’s more (spoken English only)


Connectives of Emphasis

Especially and Indeed

Both of these connectives are very common.

               The meeting was a great success. Indeed, people were still talking about it the following Monday.

               I'm not sure about the investment, especially as it involves entering an unfamiliar market.


Connectives of Continuation

Anyway (de qualquer maneira), in any case and even so (mesmo assim) are used when we wish to return to the main subject or point following a deviation.

               He said he was traveling and that he would be away for at least three weeks because his mother was ill and he wasn’t sure whether he would be back before June. Anyway, he said that he wasn’t available for the time being.

Other common connectives of resumption:

All the same / Regardless / Be that as it may

Connectives of Clarification

Actually (na verdade) and In truth

               A lot of people think I must be German, but actually I’m British.

Connectives: Text
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