In addition…, moreover…, and furthermore…

All three of these conjunctive adverbs are used to indicate that you have something more to say than what you’ve just said.  They are a little like traffic signs that say “Wait!  I’m not done yet!  I’ve got something more to say on this subject.”  Often, the three expressions are interchangeable.

 “In addition” might be said to be the most neutral and least assertive of the three.  It’s used mainly just to add one piece of information on a subject to another piece of information on the same subject.  “Furthermore” does the same thing, but it is more emphatic in tone.  It sends out a little bit stronger signal to the listener or reader that says:  “Stay with me!  There is more that you need to know!”    

  • The new state park will open next June with numerous hiking trails to explore.  In addition, a boat marina is being constructed at the north end of the lake.
  • All residents are advised to evacuate the building.  Furthermore, they are advised not to return to their homes until city officials say it is safe to do so.
  • India is one of the most populous countries of the world with three official languages and numerous others spoken.  Most of the population are adherents of Hinduism, though there is a large Muslim minority.  Furthermore, a small but significant percentage of Indians are Christians and Sikhs.

All three adverbs can be used when trying to persuade the reader or listener of something, to make one’s current argument stronger by adding additional supports.  However, “furthermore” and  “moreover” have a more forceful or authoritative tone than “in addition” and may therefore be preferred for bolstering one’s argument.  In the example below, the argument concerns the need to exercise more.  The second sentence gives two supporting statements for this argument, and the sentence beginning with “furthermore” gives yet another one.

  • It’s clear that we all need to exercise more:  Exercise improves one’s strength and can reduce one’s risk of chronic disease.  Furthermore, new evidence is suggesting that it is important for one’s mental fitness as well.

The word “moreover” is the most assertive in tone of the three adverbs and may suggest that what follows carries more weight than what the speaker has just said before.  The information in the statement may be something that the speaker feels strongly about or is something that will likely surprise the listener or make a strong impact.  Additionally, the statement introduced by “moreover” tends to contain a different kind of information from what has come before.  “Furthermore,” on the other hand, simply signals that one is about to say something that will give additional support for one’s argument.  It may be information along the same lines or it may be information of a different type.

  • I don’t agree that she’s overrated as a singer.  Moreover, I think you’re just jealous of her talent!
  • I’m not surprised they’re firing him.  His work is substandard, and his attitude is poor; moreover, he’s always late to meetings.
  • There was no way they could have won the battle.  They were outnumbered by thousands of enemy troops.  They were exhausted and demoralized from earlier fighting.  Furthermore, they were insufficiently armed.

Because of their assertive or authoritative nature, the adverbs “moreover” and “furthermore” tend to be used more often in heated arguments, fiery speeches, and in scolding than the more neutral expression “in addition.”  One can easily imagine hearing “moreover” and “furthermore” during a hard-hitting debate or, say, when a school principal or instructor scolds a group of students for unacceptable behavior.

Your deplorable behavior toward this boy will be punished, and, furthermore, you will have to have to apologize both to the boy and his parents.

I will accept no more late papers in this class.  Moreover, students who are not in their seats when class begins will be marked absent.

In speaking, both “moreover” and “furthermore” tend to be pronounced with strong emphasis.  The words are pronounced slightly louder and with higher pitch (on their stressed syllable) than the words coming before or after them.  The expression “in addition” may or may not be pronounced with strong emphasis.

The three expressions being discussed here can all be used in an extension of the same discussion or argument.  It simply depends on how many additional pieces of information or supports one wants to provide in making one’s point or covering a small topic.  In general, however, whenever “furthermore” is used in conjunction with either or both of the others, it tends to introduce the final element.  In fact, “furthermore,” whenever it is used, tends to bring with it the final piece of information on a subject or final point of an argument.  One can image a lengthy argument that goes like this:

Blah, blah, blah.  Blah, blah, blah….  Moreover, blah, blah, blah…  And, furthermore, blah, blah, blah.

Now that’s a compelling argument!

Finally, all three expressions share a certain formality of tone. “In addition” and “furthermore,” in particular, have a rather academic or official sound to them.  While all three certainly can be used in informal conversation, they are more often used in relatively formal writing and speaking.  In informal speaking, the expression “not only that, but…” serves the same function as “moreover,” and a strongly stressed “also” at the beginning of one’s sentence can serve the function of any of the three.  The expression “plus” is also gaining ground as an even more informal and emphatic alternative to “also.”