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Mini-Module: How to Use Academic Vocabulary


Functions Page 7 of 11

You can think of words and phrases as being like tools. Different tools have different functions - so choose the right tool for the job. 

In the table below you can see a list of some of the functions that you should use in your writing, plus examples.  


Functions and Examples
Function Example Function Example



Giving a result



Transition Let us now turn to Making an inference Then

In brief

To summarise

Rewording The alternative is
Identifying Namely Suggesting the opposite



For example:

"The research was conducted with a Panthera leo, NAMELY the African lion from London Zoo." 

The word "namely" links the two ideas to make one clear and easy-to-read sentence.

You can also use function words to help sentences to link together so that the reader can follow better.  how they connect, for example: 

"Wittgenstein's conception of language differs from that of John Locke. IN BRIEF, Locke followed Thomas Hobbes." 

When you are doing your academic writing, you should always be thinking about including function words to help link things together and help your reader to understand and keep up with you.

If, for example, you are going to make three main points and now you are going to write about the first one, make sure the reader knows this. You can signal this with a word or phrase such as: 

"There are three main points that need to be made. FIRSTLY, ..." 

In the interactive activity below, you can see some examples of function words and phrases and some texts with gaps. Drag the function words to the best places in the text.