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  • How to Use Meanwhile and Other English Connector Words

    English connector words like meanwhile show a logical relationship between events, thoughts and clauses.

    Instead of speaking only in short sentences, connector words enable us to join them together so that we can express ourselves fluidly.

    Understanding connector words is critical for effective comprehension of the English language while a strong vocabulary of connector words can raise the standard of your English from good to excellent.

    The Meaning of Meanwhile

    When we use meanwhile in English, it means that things happened at the same time, or refers to things that happened after an intervening space of time. Confusing? Check out the next section.

    How to use Meanwhile in a Sentence

    Ok, if the definition of meanwhile left you confused, these example sentences should make it easy.

    When meanwhile means that things happened at the same time:

    • I was working at a restaurant, meanwhile my wife was going to university.
    • The United States elected a new president, meanwhile the whole world was having problems.
    • Jim is married to Beth, meanwhile he speaks to Anne everyday.

    When meanwhile refers to things that happened during an intervening space of time:

    • Beth has moved to Chicago. Anne has meanwhile found a new boyfriend.
    • I quit school 3 months ago. I have meanwhile been offered 3 job.

    Note that in these two sentences you can replace meanwhile with “since” and get the same meaning.

    More English Connector Words

    1. Coordinating Conjunctions

    Coordinating conjunctions join the two or more important ideas in a clause together to make a single sentence. These are the most straightforward connector words and the most used

    They include:

    For
    But
    Or
    Yet
    So
    And

    Here are some examples of how they are used:

    Instead of saying: I went to university today. I had an exam
    We can say: I went to university today for an exam.

    Instead of saying: I want to go to France. I might not have money to do so.
    We can say: I want to go to France but I might not have the money to do so

    Instead of saying: I went to work. I had a coffee.
    We can say: I went to work and I had a coffee.

    Instead of saying: Will I buy the red dress? Will I buy the black dress?
    We can say: Will I buy the red dress or the black dress?

    2. Relative Pronouns

    Relative pronouns are used after a noun or other main subject in a sentence to give more details about it.
    These are:

    Who
    That
    Whom
    Which
    Whose

    Here are some examples of how they are used:

    David is my brother’s friend.
    David is my brother’s friend who plays in a band with him.

    He bought me a perfume for my birthday.
    He bought me a perfume for my birthday that smells beautiful

    Anna is my neighbour.
    Anna is a my neighbour with whom we went to France.

    That’s the man.
    That’s the man whose wife had triplets.

    3. Subordinating Conjunctions

    Subordinating Conjunctions tell us more about the action or verb of one clause by linking it to the action of another clause.

    These include:

    When
    Though
    If
    Before
    Since
    So
    That
    Because
    While
    Although
    Wherever
    Whenever
    As
    Unless
    After
    In order
    That
    As if
    Where

    Here are some examples of how they are used:

    She bought new shoes although she still hadn’t paid her credit card bill.
    I always stop by his coffee shop whenever I go to the beach on holidays.
    I won’t be able to go to the party unless David drives me.
    I ate an apple while I waited for my father at the airport
    I hadn’t heard of the movie before I went to the cinema with Maria.

    4. Conjunctive Adverbs

    Conjunctive adverbs connect two independent clauses. The difference with conjunctive adverbs from other connector words is that, in most cases, they must be preceded by semicolon and followed by a comma.

    These include

    However
    Also
    Then
    Moreover
    Therefore
    Consequently
    Instead
    Later
    Afterwards
    Furthermore
    Afterwards
    Meanwhile

    Here are some examples of how they are used:

    I do love to go to Europe on holidays; however, this year I went to Canada.
    I had so much more I couldn’t meet Claire for lunch; moreover, I had an important doctor’s appointment.
    I have a thesis to finish by Friday; therefore, I will be studying hard over the next few days.
    He has a severe heart condition; consequently, he needs surgery urgently.
    John was working hard; meanwhile, David was doing nothing except watching television.

    Examples of How Connector Words are Used

    Connector words are a very important tool in literature because they help show cause and effect, contrast and comparison. They set the scene while also enabling the text to flow.

    Read this excerpt from the short story, A White Heron by Sarah Orne Jewett. Pay attention to the author’s use of connector words and see how many you can spot in the text.

    The woods were already filled with shadows one June evening, just before eight o’clock, though a bright sunset still glimmered faintly among the trunks of the trees. A little girl was driving home her cow, a plodding, dilatory, provoking creature in her behavior, but a valued companion for all that. They were going away from whatever light there was, and striking deep into the woods, but their feet were familiar with the path, and it was no matter whether their eyes could see it or not. There was hardly a night the summer through when the old cow could be found waiting at the pasture bars; on the contrary, it was her greatest pleasure to hide herself away among the huckleberry bushes, and though she wore a loud bell she had made the discovery that if one stood perfectly still it would not ring. So Sylvia had to hunt for her until she found her, and call Co’! Co’! with never an answering Moo, until her childish patience was quite spent. If the creature had not given good milk and plenty of it, the case would have seemed very different to her owners. Besides, Sylvia had all the time there was, and very little use to make of it. Sometimes in pleasant weather it was a consolation to look upon the cow’s pranks as an intelligent attempt to play hide-and seek, and as the child had no playmates she lent herself to this amusement with a good
    deal of zest. Though this chase had been so long that the wary animal herself had given an unusual signal of her whereabouts, Sylvia had only laughed when she came upon Mistress Moolly at the swampside, and urged her affectionately homeward with a twig of birch leaves. The old cow was not inclined to wander farther, she even turned in the right direction for once as they left the pasture, and stepped along the road at a good pace.