An ELT Glossary : Connectives



A connective is any word which indicates the semantic relationships between items in the discourse. Some examples of semantic relationships and the connectives that may indicate them are :


  • Concession (the second element is surprising in view of the first):  Although John's always late and spends half the day playing computer games, they've decided to promote him. Examples of concession connectives include:  but, although, however
  • Addition  (the second element is the same in some way as the previous one.  In the example below the meaning structure is problem + problem + problem):  The chassis was rusted, and a brief inspection of the engine showed that the vehicle was clearly not roadworthy. Moreover, no road tax had been paid for three years. Examples of addition connectives include :  and, in addition, moreover 
  • Consequence (the following element is the result of the previous one) : The train was an hour late leaving, so that we missed our connection in Birmingham. As a result, we didn't get to the hotel until 11pm. Examples of connectives expressiong consequence include : so, so that, consequently, as a result 
  • etc

As these examples show, connective expressions may be conjunctions (but, although, and, so that ) or adverbials  (however, in addition, moreover, as a result). Prepositions may also be connectives, eg : We went out in spite of the rain; We didn't go because of the transport strike