discourse markers

discourse markers

Discourse means 'pieces of language longer than a sentence'. Some words and expressions are used to show how discourse is constructed. They can show the connection between something we have said and something we are going to say; or they can show the connection between what somebody else has said and what we are saying; or they can show what we think about what we are saying; or why we are talking. Here are some common examples of these 'discourse markers'.
  • by the way
  • We use by the way to introduce a new subject of conversation.
    1 Nice day. 1 Yes, isn't it? By the way have you heard from Peter?'
  • talking about ...
  • We use this to join one piece of conversation to another.
    I played tennis with Mary yesterday.' 'Oh, yes. Talking about Mary, do you know she's going to get married?'
  • firstly, secondly, thirdly; first of all; to start with
  • We use these to show the structure of what we are saying.
    Firstly, we need somewhere to live. Secondly, we need to find work. And thirdly, . . .
    'What are you going to do?' 'Well, to start with I'm going to buy a newspaper. '
  • all the same, yet, still, on the other hand, however
  • These show a contrast with something that was said before.
    'She's not working very well.' All the same, she's trying hard. '
    He says he's a socialist, and yet he's got two houses and a Rolls Royce.
    It's not much of aflat. Still, it's home.
    'Shall we go by car or train?' 'Well, it's quicker by train. On the other hand, it's cheaper by car.'
    Jane fell down the stairs yesterday. However, she didn't really hurt herself.
  • anyway, anyhow, at any rate
  • These can mean 'what was said before is not important the main point is:
    I'm not sure what time I'll arrive: maybe half past seven or a quarter to eight. Anyway, I'll be there before eight.
    What a terrible experience! Anyhow, you're all right that's the main thing.
  • mind you
  • To introduce an exception to what was said before.
    I don't like the job at all, really, Mind you, the money's good.
  • I mean
  • We say this when we are going to make things clearer, or give more details.
    It was a terrible evening. I mean, they all sat round and talked politics for hours.
  • kind of, sort of
  • To show that we are not speaking very exactly.
    I sort of think we ought to start going home, perhaps, really.
  • let me see, well
  • To give the speaker time to think.
    'How much are you selling it for?' Well, let me see, . . . '
  • well
    • To make agreement or disagreement 'softer', less strong.
      'Do you like it?' Well, yes, it's all right. '
      'Can I borrow your car?' Well, no, I'm afraid you can't. '
  • I suppose
    • To make a polite enquiry.
      I suppose you re not free this evening?
      To show unwilling agreement.
      'Can you help me?' I suppose so.
  • I'm afraid
    • To say that one is sorry to give bad news.
      Do you speak German?' I'm afraid I don't.'
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  • 'copula1 verbs
  • 'social' language
  • (a) few and (a) little
  • (a)round and about
  • (be) used to + noun or... -ing
  • (Great) Britain, the United Kingdom, the British Isles and England
  • -ing form ('gerund')
  • -ing form after to
  • -ing form or infinitive?
  • abbreviations
  • about to
  • above and over
  • across and over
  • across and through
  • active verb forms
  • actual(ly)
  • adjectives ending in -Iy
  • adjectives without nouns
  • adjectives: order
  • adjectives: position
  • adverbs of manner
  • adverbs: position (details)
  • adverbs: position (general)
  • after (conjunction)
  • after (preposition); afterwards (adverb)
  • after all
  • afternoon, evening and night
  • ages
  • ago
  • all (of) with nouns and pronouns
  • all and every
  • all and whole
  • all right
  • all with verbs
  • all, everybody and everything
  • almost and nearly
  • also, as well and too
  • although and though
  • among and between
  • and
  • and after try, wait, go etc
  • another
  • any (= 'it doesn't matter which')
  • any and no: adverbs
  • appear
  • articles: a and an; pronunciation of the
  • articles: a/an
  • articles: countable and uncountable nouns
  • articles: introduction
  • articles: special rules and exceptions
  • articles: talking in general
  • articles: the
  • articles: the difference between a/an and the
  • as and like
  • as if and as though
  • as much/many ... as ...
  • as well as
  • as, because and since (reason)
  • as, when and while (things happening at the same time)
  • as...as ...
  • ask
  • at all
  • at, in and on (place)
  • at, in and on (time)
  • be + infinitive
  • be with auxiliary do
  • be: progressive tenses
  • because and because of
  • before (adverb)
  • before (conjunction)
  • before (preposition) and in front of
  • begin and start
  • big, large, great and tall
  • born
  • borrow and lend
  • both (of) with nouns and pronouns
  • both with verbs
  • both... and...
  • bring and take
  • British and American English
  • broad and wide
  • but = except
  • by: time
  • can and could: ability
  • can and could: forms
  • can with remember, understand, speak, play, see, hear, feel, taste and smell
  • can: permission, offers, requests and orders
  • can: possibility and probability
  • close and shut
  • come and go
  • comparison: comparative and superlative adjectives
  • comparison: comparative and superlative adverbs
  • comparison: much, far etc with comparatives
  • comparison: using comparatives and superlatives
  • conditional
  • conjunctions
  • contractions
  • countable and uncountable nouns
  • country
  • dare
  • dates
  • determiners
  • discourse markers
  • do + -ing
  • do and make
  • do: auxiliary verb
  • during and for
  • during and in
  • each and every
  • each other and one another
  • each: grammar
  • either... or...
  • either: determiner
  • ellipsis (leaving words out)
  • else
  • emphasis
  • emphatic structures with it and what
  • enjoy
  • enough
  • even
  • eventual(ly)
  • ever
  • every and every one
  • except
  • except and except for
  • exclamations
  • excuse me, pardon and sorry
  • expect, hope, look forward, wait, want and wish
  • explain
  • fairly, quite, rather and pretty
  • far and a long way
  • farther and further
  • fast
  • feel
  • fewer and less
  • for + object + infinitive
  • for, since, from, ago and before
  • for: purpose
  • future perfect
  • future progressive
  • future: introduction
  • future: present progressive and going to
  • future: shall and will (interpersonal uses)
  • future: shall/will (predictions)
  • future: simple present
  • gender (masculine and feminine language)
  • get (+ object) + verb form
  • get + noun, adjective, adverb particle or preposition
  • get and go: movement
  • go ... -ing
  • go meaning'become'
  • go: been and gone
  • had better
  • half (of)
  • hard and hardly
  • have (got) to
  • have (got): possession, relationships etc
  • have + object + verb form
  • have: actions
  • have: auxiliary verb
  • have: introduction
  • hear and listen (to)
  • help
  • here and there
  • holiday and holidays
  • home
  • hope
  • how and what... like?
  • if only
  • if so and if not
  • if-sentences with could and might
  • if: ordinary tenses
  • if: special tenses
  • ill and sick
  • imperative
  • in and into (prepositions)
  • in case
  • in spite of
  • indeed
  • infinitive after who, what, how etc
  • infinitive of purpose
  • infinitive without to
  • infinitive: negative, progressive, perfect, passive
  • infinitive: use
  • instead of... -ing
  • inversion: auxiliary verb before subject
  • inversion: whole verb before subject
  • irregular verbs
  • it's time
  • it: preparatory object
  • it: preparatory subject
  • last and the last
  • let's
  • letters
  • likely
  • long and for a long time
  • look
  • look (at), watch and see
  • marry and divorce
  • may and might: forms
  • may and might: permission
  • may and might: probability
  • mind
  • modal auxiliary verbs
  • more (of): determiner
  • most (of): determiner
  • much (of), many (of): determiners
  • much, many, a lot etc
  • must and have to; mustn't, haven't got to, don't have to, don't need to and needn't
  • must: deduction
  • must: forms
  • must: obligation
  • names and titles
  • nationality words
  • need
  • negative questions
  • negative structures
  • neither (of): determiner
  • neither, nor and not... either
  • neither... nor...
  • next and nearest
  • next and the next
  • no and none
  • no and not
  • no and not a/not any
  • no more, not any more, no longer, not any longer
  • non-progressive verbs
  • noun + noun
  • numbers
  • once
  • one and you: indefinite personal pronouns
  • one: substitute word
  • other and others
  • ought
  • own
  • participle clauses
  • participles used as adjectives
  • participles: 'present' and 'past' participles (-ing and -ed)
  • passive structures: introduction
  • passive verb forms
  • past tense with present or future meaning
  • past time: past perfect simple and progressive
  • past time: past progressive
  • past time: present perfect progressive
  • past time: present perfect simple
  • past time: simple past
  • past time: the past and perfect tenses (introduction)
  • perfect tenses with this is the first time..., etc
  • personal pronouns (I, me, it etc)
  • play and game
  • please and thank you
  • possessive with determiners (a friend of mine, etc)
  • possessive's: forms
  • possessive's: use
  • possessives: my and mine, etc
  • prepositional verbs and phrasal verbs
  • prepositions after particular words and expressions
  • prepositions and adverb particles
  • prepositions at the end of clauses
  • prepositions before particular words and expressions
  • prepositions: expressions without prepositions
  • present tenses: introduction
  • present tenses: present progressive
  • present tenses: simple present
  • progressive tenses with always
  • punctuation: apostrophe
  • punctuation: colon
  • punctuation: comma
  • punctuation: dash
  • punctuation: quotation marks
  • punctuation: semi-colons and full stops
  • question tags
  • questions: basic rules
  • questions: reply questions
  • questions: word order in spoken questions
  • quite
  • real(ly)
  • reflexive pronouns
  • relative pronouns
  • relative pronouns: what
  • relative pronouns: whose
  • relatives: identifying and non-identifying clauses
  • remind
  • reported speech and direct speech
  • reported speech: orders, requests, advice etc
  • reported speech: pronouns; 'here and now' words; tenses
  • reported speech: questions
  • requests
  • road and street
  • say and tell
  • see
  • seem
  • shall
  • short answers
  • should
  • should after why and how
  • should and would
  • should, ought and must
  • should: (If I were you) I should ...
  • similar words
  • since (conjunction of time): tenses
  • singular and plural: anybody etc
  • singular and plural: irregular plurals
  • singular and plural: plural expressions with singular verbs
  • singular and plural: pronunciation of plural nouns
  • singular and plural: singular words ending in -s
  • singular and plural: singular words with plural verbs
  • singular and plural: spelling of plural nouns
  • slow(ly)
  • small and little
  • smell
  • so am I, so do I etc
  • so and not with hope, believe etc
  • some and any
  • some/any and no article
  • some: special uses
  • somebody and anybody, something and anything, etc
  • sound
  • spelling and pronunciation
  • spelling: -ise and -ize
  • spelling: -ly
  • spelling: capital letters
  • spelling: ch and tch, k and ck
  • spelling: doubling final consonants
  • spelling: final -e
  • spelling: full stops with abbreviations
  • spelling: hyphens
  • spelling: ie and ei
  • spelling: y and i
  • still, yet and already
  • subject and object forms
  • subjunctive
  • such and so
  • suggest
  • surely
  • sympathetic
  • take
  • take (time)
  • tall and high
  • taste
  • telephoning
  • telling the time
  • tenses in subordinate clauses
  • that: omission
  • the same
  • there is
  • think
  • this and that
  • too
  • travel, journey and trip
  • unless and if not
  • until and by
  • until and to
  • used to + infinitive
  • verbs with object complements
  • verbs with two objects
  • way
  • weak and strong forms
  • well
  • when and if
  • whether and if
  • whether... or...
  • which, what and who: question words
  • who ever, what ever, how ever etc
  • whoever, whatever, whichever, however, whenever and wherever
  • will
  • wish
  • worth ... -ing
  • would
  • would rather
  • In Key West Florida what are barred from racing in city limits ? . Answer ..
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