Let’s wrap our lesson on connectives by showing how they can be used to express contrast and condition. Connectives are words that join one part of a sentence to another or join ideas between sentences. The four types of connectives are adverb clauses (which we’ve covered in depth before), prepositions, transitions, and conjunctions.
Showing Contrast when the Result is Unexpected
The following sentences all contain the same meaning. The idea of it snowing is contrasted with the idea of going to work. It rarely snows in the American Southeast. As a result, the region is generally not equipped to deal with even a mild snowstorm. Driving under these circumstances is an unexpected result. It is surprising that anyone in the South would choose to drive to work when the roads are covered with snow.
Adverb Clauses (even though, although, and though):
Even though it was snowing, I drove to work.
Although it was snowing, I drove to work.
Though it was snowing, I drove to work.
Conjunctions (but…anyway, but…still, and yet…still):
It was snowing, but I drove to work anyway.
It was snowing, but I still drove to work.
It was snowing, yet I still drove to work.
Transitions (nevertheless, nonetheless, and however…still):
It was snowing. Nevertheless, I drove to work.
It was snowing; nonetheless, I drove to work.
It was snowing. However, I still drove to work.
Prepositions (despite, in spite of, despite the fact that, and in spite of the fact that):
I drove to work despite the snow.
I drove to work in spite of the snow.
I drove to work despite the fact that it was snowing.
I drove to work in spite of the fact that it was snowing.
Expressing Direct Contract
As with unexpected results, all the connective examples below have the same meaning: “This” is the opposite of “that.” The adverb clause example should be familiar to those of you who have read our adverb clauses lesson. Note that the order of “this” and “that” is flexible, so long as the qualities attributed to each remain consistent.
Adverb Clauses (while):
Brian is tall, while Jennifer is short.
Jennifer is short, while Brian is tall.
Brian is tall, but Jennifer is short.
Jennifer is short, but Brian is tall.
Transitions (however, and on the other hand):
Brian is tall; however, Jennifer is short.
Jennifer is short; Brian is tall, however.
Brian is tall. Jennifer, on the other hand, is short.
Jennifer is short. Brian, on the other hand, is tall.
Expressing Conditions with “Otherwise” and “Or (Else)”
Adverb clauses beginning with if and unless state conditions that produce certain results. In both of the following examples, getting to work on time is dependent on leaving in the near future:
If I don’t leave soon, I will be late for work.
I’ll be late for work unless I leave soon.
The transition otherwise expresses the idea that “if the opposite is true, then there will be a certain result.”:
I always leave early. Otherwise, I get stuck in traffic and am late for work.
You’d better leave soon. Otherwise, you’ll get stuck in traffic and be late for work.
The conjunction or else has the same meaning as otherwise. Native English speakers usually shorten this to just or unless they are emphasizing the result(s) of the stated condition(s):
James always leaves early, or (else) he gets stuck in traffic and is late for work.
You’d better leave soon, or (else) you’ll get stuck in traffic and be late for work.