Words and Phrases to Use for Sequencing Ideas

Hi English learners! Welcome to today’s lesson. It can be very useful if you write emails or essays because it looks at different words and phrases to use for sequencing ideas. You’d also benefit a great deal from it in case you are preparing for IELTS, TOEFL, FCE, CAE and similar examinations.

Here is the list of the words and phrases  to use for sequencing ideas:

  • The former, … the latter
  • Firstly, secondly, … finally
  • The first/second/next point is
  • First of all
  • At last/lastly
  • The following/next
  • Furthermore
  • In addition
  • Eventually
  • Subsequently
  • Last but not least

The former, … the latter

We use the former for the first thing in a list and the latter for the second or the last one.

  • The younger population support the former prime minister while the seniors prefer the latter one.
  • The latter point in the list is way more important than the former one.

Words and Phrases to Use for Sequencing Ideas

Firstly, secondly, … finally

We use firstly to refer to the first thing in the list, secondly to the second, thirdly…etc. and finally to the last one. Also, when writing an essay or an email, you can order your ideas in paragraphs by starting each one with firstly, secondly, thirdly, … finally.

  • Firstly, let’s look at the agenda for today’s meeting.
  • Secondly, we will hear your suggestions regarding…
  • Thirdly, we will look at the new law…
  • Finally, we’ll make a list of volunteers for…

The first/second/next… point

Use the phrase to refer to a specific place in a text or speech.

  • On the first point, we should discuss the efficiency of the healthcare system.r6
  • I would like to clarify the second point in the essay because it is not very clear.
  • If we agree on this point, let’s move to the next one.

First of all

If something is first of all, it is before anything else.

  • First of all, we should establish a strong board of teachers in our school.
  • First of all, let me note that there were a few competitive businesses on the market but we still managed to work without any loss.

Words and Phrases to Use for Sequencing Ideas

At last/lastly

Use the phrases to make a conclusion or refer to the last point in your speech or writing.

  • At last, they proved the innocence of the character in the novel.
  • Lastly, let me thank you for all your support and help.

The following/next

We use the phrases to refer to something that comes next.

  • In the following chapter, the discussion about the murder goes further on and we discover that…
  • In the next paragraph, we have a summary of events.


It means besides or in addition. We use it to add extra information or consideration.

  • Furthermore, there’s been a delay in the electricity supply in the region.
  • We tend to like or dislike people based on their appearance and furthermore fall in love with them or even marry them.

Words and Phrases to Use for Sequencing Ideas

In addition

This is a similar phrase. We use it to add more information.

  • In addition, I’d like to note that there is a limited number of copies so if you want to get them, you’d better do it as soon as possible.
  • In addition to holiday pay and sick pay, the company offers some bonuses as well.


Use eventually to say that something happens at the end of a series of events or a dispute.

  • They travelled by rail and by sea, and eventually, after a long journey, they arrived in New York.
  • Eventually, Simon decided to apologize and try to win the king’s trust back.

Words and Phrases to Use for Sequencing Ideas


The meaning is – next, afterwards.

  • The criminal was arrested and subsequently sentenced to imprisonment.
  • The prince subsequently became a king.

Last but not least

When you order things in your list and you don’t want the last one to be of less importance than others, you can use the phrase last but not least.

  • Last but not least, I would like to thank my colleagues and my family for their support.
  • And last but not least, I think we should arrange the time and date of the next meeting.
Words and phrases to use for sequencing ideas
Words and phrases to use for sequencing ideas

If you like this post, take a look at similar ones:

Ways of giving REASONS in English

Words and phrases to use for GIVING EXAMPLES

Words and phrases to use for SUMMARIZING

Correlative conjunctions

Expressing FUTURE PROBABILTY in English


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