9 Patterns in Texts

Knowing the pattern of an article, essay, textbook chapter, or other text aids comprehension. For each kind of writing, certain clue words—also called linking and transition words—are used. They signal the direction the writer is taking.

For example, when writing an essay with a contrast pattern the clue words might include “in contrast,”  “although,” “conversely,” and “however”.

For another example, writing to emphasize a point is often presented with clue words such as “again,” “as a matter of fact,” and “for this reason.”

Below is a list of common clue words used for various patterns in writing.

Tip: A passage could include more than one pattern (Exercise 3.1 includes examples of this).

List of Common Clue Words (Linking/Transition):

  • Clue words to show addition: additionally, again, also, and, another, besides, finally, first, second (etc.), further, furthermore, incidentally, lastly, likewise, moreover, next, too, along with, as well as, equally important, in addition, what’s more.
  • Clue words to show time: about, after, afterward, at, before, currently, during, eventually, finally, first (etc.), following formerly, immediately, later, meanwhile, next, next week, previously soon, subsequently, then, thereafter, till, today (etc.), until, when, after a few hours, as soon as, in the future, soon after.
  • Clue words to show location: above, across, adjacent, against, along, among, around, behind below, beneath, beside, between, beyond, by, down, inside, into, here, near, nearby, off, onto, outside, over, there, throughout, under, away from, at the side, in the back, in back of, in the background, in the distance, in the front, in the foreground, on top of, to the right (etc.).
  • Clue words to show comparison: also, as , like, likewise, meanwhile, similarly, simultaneously, after all, at the same time, by and large, in comparison, in the same way, in the same manner, in the same way.
  • Clue words to show contrast: although, but, conversely, however, nevertheless, nonetheless, notwithstanding, otherwise, still, true, yet, or, and yet, even though, in contrast, on the contrary, on the other hand, while this is true.
  • Clue words to emphasize a point: again, obviously, truly, undoubtedly, as a matter of fact, for this reason, in fact, to emphasize, to repeat.
  • Clue words to clarify: for instance, in other words, put another way, that is.
  • Clue words to give examples: namely, specifically, as an illustration, for example, for instance, to demonstrate, to illustrate.
  • Clue words to introduce as a result: accordingly, consequently, so, therefore, thus, as a result, due to this.
  • Clue words to show cause and effect: if…then, this led to, for this reason, caused, not only but also, which led to.
  • Clue words to introduce conclusions: accordingly, consequently, finally hence, so, therefore, thus, as a result, in brief, in conclusion, in short, in summary, on the whole, to conclude.

NOTE: this is not an exhaustive list, of course, and as you have noticed, various words and expressions can work for more than one pattern of writing, so they illustrate just one strategy to help reading comprehension.

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