Signal Words

Signal words tell you what’s coming and what to watch for as well as what you already have read. They may signal a list, summary, comparison/contrast, detail, main idea, beginning, or ending.

Watch for signal words as you skim or scan will immediately focus your attention or “signal” you to make note of the information to follow.

Listed below and on the next page are some signal words and their “meanings.”

Use context clues that improve reading ability.


Read on-more is coming                                                                                             

and                   first

more                second

moreover          third                                                                            

furthermore       also                                                                                         

besides             finally                                                                                       

some                primarily

many                a key feature

for one thing     in addition

likewise            next

main                 another



therefore           hence

thus                  as a result

finally                in summary

in conclusion     noteworthy

consequently     last of all


Words that Illustrate

for example

to illustrate


for instance

such as

following are


Four types of context clues!

            1.Definition- easiest to use (“is, means…”)

            2. Comparison- unknown words compared with know words (“as, like…”)

            3. Contrast- opposite meaning (“but, not, however…”)

            4. Sense of Passage- the meaning in relation to other parts of the paragraph


F render, G. (2004). Learning to learn. Nashville, TN: Incentive Publications