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The underestimated world of conjunctions – Welcome to a really useful word group to make you sound professional…

When looking to sound more professional in English, there is a small group of words which do this so well.  Welcome to the underestimated world of the conjunctions.  Here is my guide to some conjunctions you may be missing which will make you sound very professional, I promise!

Once

Once has many different meanings, but we are looking at the meaning ‘as soon as’ or ‘from the moment when’.

This is very useful to use when talking about the future:

Once we are halfway through the project, we will review the budget’]

Notice that when it is used to talk about the future, we don’t use will with once:

Once it is 5pm I am going to go home’

Once is often used with the present perfect to talk about the future:

Once I have finished writing the minutes I will send you a copy’

In the past,

Since / As - used to mean ‘because’

Since and as are great alternatives for ‘because’, because they work very well at the beginning of sentences.  It is better to avoid using the word because at the beginning of a sentence, especially in writing.

As we have a few financial problems at the moment, I think we should make cutbacks on staff.’

(‘as’ sounds a lot better than ‘because’ here, because it is at the beginning of the sentence)

Since we have just secured a new contract, I think we should celebrate!’

Both of these words sound very professional, and are great options to use at the beginning of sentences.  You can also use them in the middle of sentences, just like you can with because:

‘I think you deserve a promotion as you have worked very hard’

Whereas / while

Whereas and while are both great alternatives to ‘but’, the only difference is that whereas and while are used to describe a complete contrast.  Here are some examples:

‘I enjoy going to watch football, whereas my wife absolutely hates it.’ (Complete contrast.  I like it, my wife hates it)

‘I like strong cheese, while Mary likes mild cheese’ (Complete contrast. I like strong, Mary likes mild)

If it is not a complete contrast, you can’t use whereas or while, take a look at this example:

‘I like tennis, but I only have time to go once a week.’ (Not a complete contrast, you like tennis and you go once a week)

‘I think it is a good idea but it is risky.’ (Not a complete contrast, It can be a good idea and risky at the same time)

Here are some more examples with whereas and while.  We always use a comma before whereas and while:

‘I think it is a good idea to merge the two departments, while John says it would be a waste of time.’

‘I seem to do all of the work around here, whereas you just sit there and do nothing.’

Provided that

Provided that is a great phrase which sounds really professional.  What’s even better is that it is very simple to use.  Think of it as an alternative to ‘if’ or ‘as long as’.  It is used to set certain conditions for a situation to happen:

‘I think the start up company can be successful provided that we can get some more funding.’

As you can see you could also use ‘if’ in this sentence, but provided that sounds very professional.  It can also be used at the beginning of a sentence:

Provided that we work efficiently, the construction should be finished on time.’

Provided that we work efficiently together, we will meet the deadline with no problems.’

Similar to conjunctions, check out the most professional-sounding adverbs for business English here! If you would like to have any of these words explained further, feel free to email me at david@fluencyspace.com, or message me on Skype at live:fluencyspace!  Click here for more useful vocabulary.

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 David Cox

 Fluency Space

 Make the world your fluency space. Business English for career and life success

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