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Discourse markers Unit 4a

A: I really like your shirt. Hasn't Harry got one

To change the direction of a conversation, but

just like it?


B: Talking of Harry, did he get the job he applied

making a link with what has just been said.

for?
So lets meet at five o'clock then. By the way /

To introduce something you have just thought of,

Incidentally, could you possibly lend me some


money until the weekend?
A: Did you see the match last night?
B: No, I didn't. Actually / In fact / As a matter

or to change the subject completely.


To introduce additional surprising or unexpected
information.

of fact I don't really like football.


We didn't go away at the weekend because I had

To introduce the idea that what you said before is

too much work. In any case / Anyway the


weather was awful, so we didn't miss anything.
Yes, it was a bad accident. At least nobody was
killed, though. Tom's coming to the meeting, or at

less important than what you are going to say. To


return to the main topic after a digression.
To introduce a positive point after some negative
information. To make what you have just said less

least he said he was.


As I was saying, if Mark gets the job we'll have

definite.
To return to a previous subject, often after you

to reorganize the department.


On the whole, I think that women make better

have been interrupted.


To generalize.

journalists than men.


I like both flats, but all in all, I think I prefer

To say that you are taking everything into

the one next to the cathedral.


I think we should buy them. After all, we'll never

consideration.
To introduce a strong argument that the other

find them anywhere cheaper than this.


I don't think I'll come to Nick's party. It will

person may not have taken into consideration.


To add additional information or arguments.

finish very late. Besides, I won't know many people


there.
Basically, my job involves computer skills and

To introduce the most important or fundamental

people skills.

point.

Obviously you can't get a real idea of life in Japan

To introduce a fact that is very clear to see or

unless you can speak the language.


She's very selfish. I mean, she never thinks about

understand.
To make things clearer or give more details.

other people at all.


A lot of people booed, and some people even left

To say something again in another way.

early. In other words, it was a complete disaster.


Please try not to make a mess when you make the

To say what the result would be if something did

cake. Otherwise I'm going to have to clean the


kitchen again.
That's all you need to know about the travel
arrangements. As far as accommodation is

not happen or if the situation were different.


To introduce a new topic or to announce a change
of subject.

concerned, As regards / Regarding


accommodation, the options are living with a family
or living in a hall of residence.
The government are going to help first-time

To introduce an explanation or clarification of a

buyers. That is to say, they are going to make


mortgages more easily available.
On (the) one hand, more young people today carry
knives. On (the) other hand, the total number of

point you have just made.

violent crimes has dropped.

contrasting fact or point.

To balance contrasting facts or points. On the


other hand is also used alone to introduce a

DISCOURSE
MARKERS
ACTIVITY 1 : Complete the mini-dialogues with a discourse marker starting with the blue capital letter.
Then check the answers.
1. A: Have you got your tickets for the concert yet?
B: Yes, I have. T___________ of the concert, have you heard the band's new CD yet?
2.

A: How did your interview go?


B: It went really well. It was brilliant. In other W_________, I got the job!

3.

A: Could you tell us where we'll be eating?


B: As far as meals are C___________, breakfast and dinner will be provided by the hotel.

4.

A: Are you going to Javier's party on Sunday?


B: No, I'm not. As a M___________ of fact, I haven't been invited.

5.

A: Do you prefer the city or the country?


B: On the W__________ I prefer the city.

6.

A: Thanks for filling me in on what I missed.


B: No problem. By the W_________, there's another meeting on Wednesday.

7.

A: Can we inform our families of our destination?


B: This is top secret. That is to S_________, you are not to reveal anything to anyone.

8.

A: Did you buy anything while you were in town?


B: No, I didn't take any money with me. In any C_________, there wasn't anything I liked.

9.

A: How does it feel to be famous at last?


B: The attention is incredible. On the other H___________ I also miss my privacy.

1
0.

A: We're going round to my mum's on Saturday.


B: OK. At L_____________ we won't have to cook.

ACTIVITY 2 : Complete the sentence with the correct discourse marker. Choose from :
AFTER ALL / ALL IN ALL / AS I WAS SAYING / BASICALLY / BESIDES / I MEAN / IN CONCLUSION /
OBVIOUSLY
1. _______________ , I think the company should invest in new machinery to update the factory.
2. ______________Sam and Ella aren't very well-off because they're both unemployed.
3. I think you should ask your boss if you can take the day off. ____________ , he can only say no.
4. I don't feel like cooking tonight. ____________ , there's nothing in the fridge.
5. _______________ , I'm going to study maths because there's nothing else I'm good at.
6. I've read all the applications, and ______________ I think that Adam is the best person for the job.
7. I think Jane is partly to blame for the argument. _________________ she's not exactly tactful!
8. ____________________ before the break, the oral exams start next week.

Exercise 1 answers
1.

A: Have you got your tickets for the concert yet?


B: Yes, I have. TALKING of the concert, have you heard the band's new CD yet?

2.

A: How did your interview go?


B: It went really well. It was brilliant. In other WORDS, I got the job!

3.

A: Could you tell us where we'll be eating?


B: As far as meals are CONCERNED, breakfast and dinner will be provided by the hotel.

4.

A: Are you going to Javier's party on Sunday?


B: No, I'm not. As a MATTER of fact, I haven't been invited.

5.

A: Do you prefer the city or the country?


B: On the WHOLE I prefer the city.

6.

A: Thanks for filling me in on what I missed.


B: No problem. By the WAY, there's another meeting on Wednesday.

7.

A: Can we inform our families of our destination?


B: This is top secret. That is to SAY, you are not to reveal anything to anyone.

8.

A: Did you buy anything while you were in town?


B: No, I didn't take any money with me. In any CASE, there wasn't anything I liked.

9.

A: How does it feel to be famous at last?


B: The attention is incredible. On the other HAND I also miss my privacy.

10
.

A: We're going round to my mum's on Saturday.


B: OK. At LEAST we won't have to cook.

Exercise 2 answers
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

IN CONCLUSION, I think the company should invest in new machinery to update the factory.
OBVIOUSLY Sam and Ella aren't very well-off because they're both unemployed.
I think you should ask your boss if you can take the day off. AFTER ALL he can only say no.
I don't feel like cooking tonight. BESIDES, there's nothing in the fridge.
BASICALLY, I'm going to study maths because there's nothing else I'm good at..
I've read all the applications, and I ALL IN ALL I think that Adam is the best person for the job.
I think Jane is partly to blame for the argument. I MEAN she's not exactly tactful!
AS I WAS SAYING before the break, the oral exams start next week.