Link words can improve readability
A simple check of the readability of something you have written in English
is counting how many sentences start with «The». «The
paper presents... . The challenge was... The work involved ... . »
One way to liven up such «machine-gun English» is using
link words or transitions that should act like signposts for your reader.
However, do not throw the baby out with the bathwater. A text where every
sentence starts with link words is just as difficult to follow as a road
where the signposting has gone mad. Here are some examples of link words
When comparing things, useful link words include: by
contrast, conversely, however, in contrast, in spite of, instead, likewise,
nevertheless, otherwise, on the contrary, on the one hand, on the other
hand, rather, similarly
When generalizing, use: as a rule, as usual, for the
most part, generally, in general, ordinarily, usually
When describing a sequence, useful link words for a linear
progression are: First,... Second,... Third,... Next,... Then,... Finally,...
Note that most English style guides recommend: First,... Second, ...
Third, ... not: Firstly,... Secondly, ... Thirdly, ... . Also, remember
that once you use: First, ... your reader will expect Second,...
Third, ... and Next
You can also signpost sequences by link words that point backwards,
like: Having completed stage one, the next stage/step is... After stage
one,... Previously ... Earlier ...
Link words to describe simultaneous actions, include: During this
stage ... While ... At the same time ... Simultaneously... Meanwhile...
Finally, there are link words to end a sequence. Make sure these are
reserved for the very end: Finally,... In the last stage,... The process
finishes with... The last step is... In conclusion...
back, backside, reverse
Back n. means the other side of a sheet of paper, a book or a
space: «The course registration form is on the back this folder».
«Her photo is on the back of the book». «There are seats
available in the back».
Backside (Norw. baken) only means buttocks or behind
in British English and many Norwegian authors of programmes, brochures
and such like consistently amuse Brits with this one (see Enlightening
English). In AE, backside can also mean the rear of an object, like
«the backside of a mountain».
Reverse n. either means a setback: «The team had never
suffered such a reverse» (Norw. motgang), or the other side
of an object: «the reverse side of the sculpture». Note that
a coin has its secondary design on the reverse side (Norw. bakside).
per annum, per capita, per diem
Per annum (Norw. pr. år) is abbreviated p.a.: «Her
income is NOK 250 000 p.a.». Recommended alternatives are: a year,
annually, but avoid per year.
Per capita (Norw., pr. hode) can be abbreviated p.c.,
but there may be confusion with PC. The alternative a head is sometimes
possible, but per head is substandard.
Per diem (Norw. kostgodtgjørelse) means the daily
allowance when travelling to cover hotel expenses and subsistence costs.
This is often termed the travel allowance or sometimes in slang
«the diem». The official translation of the Norw. statens
reiseregulativ is Government Travel Allowance Scale.
They can both mean making a suggestion, but there are contextual differences.
Proposal (Norw. forslag) means putting forward a plan
for consideration, particularly in a formal context: «The opposition
presented a proposal to raise sales taxes». An offer of marriage
is also a proposal.
Proposition (Norw. forslag) means a suggestion or scheme
to be considered, particularly in business and investment: «That
TV station could be a good long-term proposition». In the USA, proposition
may also mean a bill: «Environmental and tax assessments of Proposition
Proposition v. (Norw. få (uanstendige) tilbud) means
to make an offer. But as this is frequently only used in connection with
an unsubtle invitation to a sexual relationship, treat this verb with care.
Compare: «Ole propositioned Mary-Jane» with the more honourable
«Ole proposed to Mary-Jane».
At Lunde Arboretum, Balestrand there is a notice by Norway's oldest
Sweet Chestnut tree: «The young leaves have a hairy backside».
Tourists who visit Andøya should bring their handkerchiefs,
as according to a tourist brochure, one of the activities is the «Andøya