Common discourse markers

December 2, 2013pdf

Discourse markers are essentially linking words. They show how one piece of conversation is connected to another piece of conversation.

While some discourse markers are only used in informal language, others are very formal and fit for academic contexts.

There are quite a few discourse markers in English. Here, you will find some of the most common among them.

Mind you / still

Mind you is mainly used in an informal style. It is used to suggest that what you are going to say contradicts what has already been said. The linking word still has very similar meanings.

Study the examples given below.

  • Miners work for long hours in potentially dangerous conditions. Mind you, they are adequately compensated for the work they do.

Here the second statement contradicts the first statement in some way.

  • It was the worst job I ever had. Mind you / Still, the money was okay.
  • The exam was tough and I couldn’t answer nearly half of the questions. Still, I passed.

By the way / incidentally

By the way and incidentally are mainly used to indicate a change of topic. They are also used to introduce afterthoughts, but they don’t contradict what has been said before. Incidentally is more formal than by the way.

  • I have finished working on that report and I guess I have done a good job. By the way, when are you going to give me a raise?

However / nevertheless

Both however and nevertheless are used to introduce a second statement that contrasts with the first. They can be used in nearly all situations where mind you and still are also possible. However, these two expressions are mainly used in written English.

  • She didn’t win the contest; however, she managed to deliver a satisfactory performance.

Nevertheless is even more formal.

  • It was a laborious task; nevertheless, we didn’t give up.
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