Signal Words

Jul 14, 2020 | 0 comments

Signal Words

Jul 14, 2020 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Tips on Using Signal Words

What are signal words?

Signal words are words and phrases that show a connection between ideas.

They are also called sentence superheroes, transitional words.

Just like traffic signs or signposts are of importance to drivers, signal words are of the essence in writing.

One will be able to know the transitions and the relationship between ideas when signal words are used in writing.

It will be easy for a student to build new ideas framework through a reflection of what they have read and predict the next outcome.

The reader can make predictions of what will follow when signal lights are used correctly in writing.

When signal lights are not used, the possibility of getting confused when reading a sentence is very high.

It is essential to ensure clarity on your essay as you write for the reader to know where you are going are with your argument.

This way, the reader will know your intentions.

Any person reading your work will know where you are coming from with your argument and where you are going.

Signal words are categorized in different ways which are highlighted below

Introduction Signals

When writing your introduction, it is crucial to ensure you have phrases that are clear to indicate that you are starting the essay.

There are specific assets that are used in an introduction that shows specific sentences belong in this category.

Examples of an introductory signal sentence include; in this essay, I will analyze/ explore/discuss…

This way, the reader knows exactly what to expect in your work.

Time and Order Signals 

The structure of your essay tells much about your planning.

They Indicate when something happened about something else.

To signal the reader concerning time and order use the phrases

  • Before
  • Since
  • Soon
  • During
  • Previously
  • Immediately
  • While

Compare and Contrast Signals Words


Some signals will indicate that you have a different opinion concerning your argument, and they should be highlighted.

To show you have an alternative viewpoint contrast words use the following phrases

  • Even though
  • Conversely
  • Nevertheless
  • In contrast
  • On the other hand
  • Instead
  • In spite of

Comparison Signals

They show the relationship or similarities between ideas

The second idea in some way looks like the first one.

What the writer wants to achieve is to point out the similarities between the subjects.

Examples include

  • In like manner
  • Likewise
  • Similarly
  • Just as
  • Just like

Importance of compare and contrast signal words

Compare and contrast signal words have the following important in an essay

When writing compare and contrast essays you are trying to examine to subject matters.

You can either compare them contrast them or do both.

The essence of comparing and contrasting essays is to show the differences and similarities between the two subject matters.

When writing an essay, you must highlight the subjects that you are comparing and contrasting and highlight what is to be learnt.

This is because one of the reasons you are comparing and contrasting is to give the reader constructive information.

You must use comparison and contrast phrases to give a signal to the reader on how you are analyzing the subject matter.

Additions Signals

As you write your essay, you may want to build up or continue your arguments in the same direction.

You will then need to add more details or points of the same kind.

Addition signals show the thought process of the writer in presenting more than one idea.

They are signal enumerators.

Useful phrases in this category include

  • Apart from
  • In addition to
  • Besides
  • First of all
  • Furthermore
  • Another
  • Moreover
  • second

Illustration signals

They show development or clarification of an Idea.

Examples are;

  • For example
  • Specifically
  • Including
  • Such as
  • For instance

Explanation, clarifying or emphasizing signal words

When you want to give more explanations concerning an argument.

They also show a particular idea is especially is important.

Writers use emphasis words to make the reader pay attention to an idea.

They are also used to expand a point.

Use the following phrases

  • Clearly
  • Certainly
  • Obviously
  • In other words
  • To clarify this
  • This is to say
  • To be sure
  • Truly
  • As a matter of fact

Location Signal Words

They show where something is located

  • Nearby
  • behind
  • Beneath
  • Below
  • Between
  • Next to

Signal Words for Cause and Effect

The cause and effect signal words help to determine the relationship between various phenomena

A cause and effect essay shows what the writer can see as the main course of an event and effect

When writing a cause and effect essay you can begin with the effect and later give more information about the cause or vice versa.

Using the right causative phrases can help you give a signal to the reader to understand the connection of different elements.

Cause and effect signals show what happened and why something happened.

Listed are examples of signal words cause and effect

Cause Signal Words and Phrases

  • Because
  • Due to
  • To be a result of
  • To result from
  • The sequence of
  • As a consequence of
  • Because of
  • The effect of

Effect Signal Words and Phrases

  • As a result
  • As a consequence
  • To result in
  • The cause of
  • The reason for
  • To have an effect on
  • To cause

Conclusion or summary signals 

Conclusion signals the reader that you are wrapping up your work or is concluding a thought.

Therefore, it would be best to make this as clear as possible as you are winding up your arguments.

Summarizing or concluding words

Signal words examples

  • In summary
  • To conclude
  • Ultimately
  • All in all
  • In short
  • On the whole
  • To sum up

Frequently Asked Questions

What are signal words?

Signal words can be defined as words that show the connection between ideas.

They are also referred to as sentence superheroes, sentence connectors or signpost.

These words show the intention of the writer and the direction he or she gives the reader to slow with the idea.

Examples of signal words include also, in contrast, for example, however, as also, and as a result.

What are the six types of signal words?

  • Emphasis
  • Comparison
  • Contrast
  • Illustration
  • Cause and effect
  • Addition

What are the signal words for compare and contrast?


  • Same
  • The same as
  • Also
  • Likewise
  • As well as
  • Both
  • In the same way
  • In common
  • Too


  • Although
  • However
  • In contrast
  • instead
  • on the contrary
  • except
  • Differently
  • On the other hand
  • Even though
  • While

What are examples of signal phrases?

Signal phrase gives a better understanding of a sentence.

The reader can identify and know the flow of your work

Signal phrases Suggest, imply, point out, respond, comment, declare, Claim, argue and


Examples of the phrases include

  • Because of
  • As a consequence of
  • As a result of
  • Just like
  • As a matter of fact

The moment you understand how to signal in essay writing, you will be able to write a good master’s dissertation in the future.

The more one is exposed to signal words in speech and writing the better you will recognize and use then easily.

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