Business Writing Tip #101—Reference Words

In my last post I talked about signposts—words which help us find our way through a text. In this post I will look at another device we use to show connections between pieces of information in a text—reference words. Using reference words also allows us to avoid repeating words, sentences and, even occasionally, whole paragraphsrefwords

The main challenge when we use reference words is to make sure that it’s clear what the reference word refers to … but first what do these words do?

Using reference words helps us make our text cohesive. They are words that point backwards or forwards to other words or concepts that have already appeared in the text or are about to appear. Basically they are used to:

  • Refer back to people, objects and ideas that have been mentioned earlier, or
  • Refer forward to people, objects and ideas that will be mentioned later.

There are two important things to remember about reference words.

  1. Reference words cannot stand alone. They must connect with other words to complete their meanings.
  2. They are used when new information is added about the things that they refer to.

Click here for a downloadable table of common reference words with details of how we use them and some examples.

One thought on “Business Writing Tip #101—Reference Words

  1. Basically they are used to:

    Refer back to people, objects and ideas that have been mentioned earlier, or
    Refer forward to people, objects and ideas that will be mentioned later.

    Feed back;
    It would have been good, if examples for the above definitions are given

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