Legal English

Transition Words

Transitional words and phrases can create links between ideas in your writing and can help your reader understand your logic. However, these words all have different meanings and nuances.

Before using a particular transitional word, be sure you understand its meaning and usage completely and be sure that it's the right match for the logic you want to express. In this lesson we will test your understanding of these words and your ability to use them correctly.

Before we start, pay attention to the differences between the following words, which are very similar in meaning and may be easily confused:

  1. 'Thus' and 'Therefore'

Therefore is used in introducing a conclusion that follows from what was said previously: 'You are drunk, and that makes you incapable of operating a car. Therefore you shouldn't drive.'

Thus means in this way. For example: 'I intend to read a lot, and thus become knowledgeable.'

In some cases 'thus' is similar in meaning to 'therefore': it can, like therefore, indicate the conclusion of an argument: Trees are plants, and plants are living. Thus we can see that trees are living. In these cases where they have the same meaning, the effect of therefore and thus is a bit different: therefore emphasises that the conclusion is a logical consequence of what goes  before; thus puts more focus on the argument as a whole and the way it leads towards the conclusion.

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2. 'Furthermore', 'In addition' and 'Moreover'

  1. 'Furthermore' is commonly used in formal writing to go deeper into a topic. 'What's more' can be used informally.
  2. 'Moreover' is often used in quite informal communication to give a reason in support of an argument, apart from the one you already gave. While it does mean "in addition to" as the dictionary says, its usage is more appropriate in meaning of  'not only that'. 'Also' is more informal but serves the same purpose. 'Besides' can also be used in a similar context in informal communication since it means 'apart from'.
  3. 'In addition to' is used to simply mean something more or extra. e.g. 'Every summer, he is told to mentor the interns in addition to his routine responsibilities.''as well', 'besides that' and 'on top of that' are its informal variants.
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Task 1: Choose the correct translation for each of these transition words:

Task 2: Choose the most appropriate transition word for each of these sentences


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Comment ( 1 )

  • Anzhelika

    In the sentence 16 the word “himself” is incomplete.
    The second task is a bit complicated , the meaning of some transition word is quite the same, so they could be used in various sentences.
    Nevertheless it was good to review the topic. Thank you!

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