By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)
‘Additionally’ is a useful word: so useful that a writer can find themselves in danger of overusing it in certain contexts. What viable alternative words are there which can serve as good synonyms for the word additionally?
Let’s take a look at the best additionally synonyms, exploring how they might be used as a substitute for that commonly used word.
Additionally is an adverb, as the -ly ending strongly implies. So what follows are some adverbs and adverbial phrases which serve the same purpose as additionally, or at least, serve a very similar function.
If you don’t mind utilising an adverbial phrase rather than a single word, then IN ADDITION can work very nicely as an alternative to ‘additionally’. It means the same thing. So, just as you might say (or write), ‘There were three cats on the lawn. Additionally, there were two squirrels’, so you might say, ‘There were three cats on the lawn. In addition, there were two squirrels.’ The two phrases are perfectly interchangeable.
ALSO works in much the same way. In his little-read sequel to Robinson Crusoe, the 1719 book The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe wrote: ‘A very handy ingenious Fellow, who was a Cooper by Trade but was also a general Mechanick; for he was dexterous at making Wheels.’
Defoe might alternatively have written ‘but was additionally a general Mechanick’, since the man is a cooper but also a mechanic: he is a mechanic in addition to being a cooper (or barrel-maker).
The word also emerged, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) tells us, as an intensification of the word so, and invites us to compare other al- words, such as although and altogether, among others.
Returning to adverbial phrases, another common synonym for additionally is AS WELL, which means the same as also. However, the required syntax is subtly different. Returning to that Defoe example, if Defoe had used as well instead of also, he could not have written ‘who was a Cooper by Trade but was as well a general Mechanick’, at least not without muddying his meaning.
Instead, as well should come after the noun phrase, thus: ‘who was a Cooper by Trade but was a general Mechanick as well.’
The same goes for another additionally synonym, the simple word TOO, where ‘who was a Cooper by Trade but was too a general Mechanick’ would make little sense: you’d need to write ‘who was a Cooper by Trade but was a general Mechanick too’, leaving the adverb until the end of the clause.
Both as well and too are common in both formal and colloquial contexts. But another useful synonym, MOREOVER, is probably more frequently used in formal writing or speech-making than in general conversation, where it can sound unduly pompous or pretentious. Imagine saying to friends, ‘I think we should have another round of drinks. Moreover, I reckon we should order some food!’
But in a formal setting, moreover can be rhetorically very effective. The etymology of the word is self-explanatory: it’s from more and over, and so in a sense doubly signals its meaning (‘additionally’, ‘in addition’).
It could so easily have been otherwise. The OED invites us to compare OVERMORE, an alternative formation with the same meaning, which appeared to go head-to-head with moreover for primacy in the Middle Ages.
But moreover won out and overmore is now relegated to the history books. Although the dictionary doesn’t name it as obsolete or archaic, my Spellcheck affords overmore a red squiggly line, which is revealing.
A more informal way of writing (or saying) additionally is simply to write PLUS, as in ‘You never paid back that £10 I lent you! Plus, you still have my lawnmower I lent you last month.’ If you wanted to be more formal you could substitute plus with additionally, of course, though in this context it would probably come across as overly stiff and even self-important!
BESIDES is a slightly curious word because although it means ‘in addition’ or ‘additionally’, the structure of the word makes it sound as though it means something different (such as ‘leaving that to one side’). But if we compare the following two sentences, we’ll see that the meaning is broadly similar in both:
You can’t sing. Besides, your guitar-playing is rubbish.
You can’t sing. Additionally, your guitar-playing is rubbish.
We say ‘broadly similar’ because the first example suggests a turning away to a slightly different topic, whereas the second implies compounding the second topic with the first, to intensify one’s case. Besides means something closer to in any case than additionally, though its meaning is close enough to the latter to warrant inclusion here.
Another more colloquial expression is INTO THE BARGAIN, a phrase which has come to mean simply ‘moreover’ or ‘besides’ but which originally referred to actual bargains, and meant ‘over and above what was stipulated or expected in a deal’.
If you get more than you expected in a particular business deal or bargain, you get other things in addition, so one can see how the phrase came to be applied more generally as a synonym for additionally.
NOT TO MENTION, meanwhile, is used to refer to an additional detail which strengthens one’s argument. As the OED observes, this is a piece of rhetorical sleight-of-hand, designed to suggest that the speaker is not presenting the full extent of their argument but only, as it were, the tip of the iceberg.
In other words, it’s like saying, ‘and this is without me even mentioning all the other stuff I could mention’. It’s somewhat ironic, of course, because then the speaker goes on to mention the things which they are not to mention.
Both FURTHERMORE and FURTHER TO are yet further ways to say additionally, as in ‘further to my previous point, I would like to add …’
Let’s conclude this selection of synonyms with a more colloquial expression: TO BOOT. This has nothing to do with footwear but instead comes from an earlier sense of boot meaning ‘profit’ or ‘advantage’ or simply ‘good’, as in the phrase to the good.
So to boot has meant, ever since the early Middle Ages, ‘in addition’, ‘moreover’, and ‘into the bargain’. Although the OED doesn’t list it as a strictly colloquial term, it is best used guardedly in formal writing.