Business Writing Tip #33—Linking Your Thoughts

Mark Tredinnick wrote, ‘Link everything to everything else…Every sentence and every paragraph should link to the one before it and point to the one that comes next. Your reader must know, as they read each clause and sentence and paragraph, why they are reading it and why they are reading it here and why they are reading it now; and they must hear in it  your main point reprised, advanced and clarified.’ (The Little Red Writing Book, p.222) 

Whether you’re writing a short email or business letter, drafting a longer report or preparing a presentation, it’s important to provide structure and flow. Here are some words and phrases that you might find useful.

Introducing a Topic

  • To begin with …
  • To start with …
  • As an introduction …
  • First and foremost …

When you want to add information

  • Besides
  • Moreover
  • Furthermore
  • What is more
  •  … too.
  • In addition to
  • Not to mention
  • Not only … but also …

When you provide contrasting information

  • But
  • Yet
  • Though
  • Still
  • Nevertheless
  • Nonetheless
  • Actually
  • Conversely
  • Although
  • Though
  • Whereas
  • Unlike …
  • Instead of …
  • Despite …
  • In spite of …
  • For all …
  • On the contrary
  • On the other hand
  • By contrast
  • In fact
  • The fact is (that) …

Organizing a series of elements (ideas, arguments, activities, actions, etc.)

  • First(ly), Second(ly), Third(ly)

(Note: I personally prefer first, second, third—but you will often see the …ly variant.)

  • The writer starts with
  • Then goes on to say
  • To end with
  • At the beginning
  • Then
  • At the end

Expressing activities or actions that are happening at the same time as something else

  • Meanwhile
  • In the meantime
  • While
  • During
  • Simultaneously

And at the end, when you are drawing conclusions and finishing up

  • In conclusion
  • Finally
  • To finish
  • To sum up
  • As a conclusion
  • By way of conclusion
  • To conclude
  • To sum up
  • To finish
  • At last
  • Last but not least
  • In short
  • In the end
  • To put it in a nutshell
  • In a word

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