Discourse Markers

these are words or phrases used to connect, organize and manage what we want to say or write or to express a specific attitude. There are a lot of these discourse markers and below are few of the most common examples. Some of these discourse markers have more than one use and used in informal speech or writing. Most of the time, these markers are found at the beginning of a clause.

1. Focusing and Linking
(With reference to, talking/speaking of/about/, regarding, as regards, as far as,..is concerned: as for.)These expressions focus on what is going to be said by telling the subject in advance.

“With reference to” is a formal expression usually used in business letters.
With reference to your letter on September 25, I am happy to inform you that our manager agreed on your proposal.

“Speaking/ talking of/ about..” used when linking what has just been said and it can help the speaker change the subject.
I meet John and Ann today. You know, they….Speaking of them, have you heard that they are getting married soon?

“Regarding” can come at the beginning of a discourse.
Hello Mr. Lim. Now look, regarding your proposal---I don’t think….

“As regards and as far as” usually announces a change of subject by the speaker or writer.
…..there are no problems with the sales. Now as regards production…..
As far as the manager is concerned, I think….

2. Balancing contrasting points
On the one hand (formal), on the other hand, while, whereas these expressions are used to balance two facts or ideas that contrasts but do not contradict each other.
On the one hand, computer games develop many skills, but on the other, they mean kids don't get enough exercise.
Tom is very confident while Katy is shy and quiet.

3. Emphasizing a contrast
However, nevertheless, nonetheless, mind you, still, yet, in spite of this/that, despite this/that…
He had always been a successful businessman. Recently, however, things have not been going well for him.
Ihna knew a lot about the subject already, but her talk was interesting nevertheless.
He was extremely rude in meetings. Nonetheless, his arguments found some support.
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