Select the transitional device that best matches the sentence.

In general, he used complex recipes for his menus. ___________, he used simpler ones this time in order to address the dietary requirements of the clients in the program.

(a) Nevertheless
(b) However
(c) Meanwhile
(d) In addition

Best answer: B (however)

Reason: Here, “however” reveals that a change has been made to the menu.

Answer A (nevertheless) conveys a similar meaning (“in spite of this” or “notwithstanding”) but indicates the initial condition is kept or tolerated. Here the initial condition (complex recipes) is not kept. Answer C (meanwhile) could never be used in this context, because it implies something happening at the same time somewhere else. Answer D (in addition) could also be used here, but it would carry a different meaning: it would mean that this time he used both complex and simple recipes.

A word of caution for ESL learners: A few transitional devices seem to be very similar at first glance but actually have different usage. This issue is probably due to the idiomatic usage of prepositions.

Example: Besides pastries, beverages are included in the specialty list.
Improved example: In addition, beverages are included in the specialty list.

Here, “besides” and “in addition” are synonymous in that they are meant to signal additional information. “Besides” is, however, grammatically equivalent to “in addition to”, and is therefore followed by an object (pastries) or an action.

Example (incorrect): Besides, we always go for a walk as well as a swim.
Example (correct): Besides going for a swim, we also always go for a walk.
Example (correct): I do no exercise besides swimming and walking.
Example (correct): He does a lot of exercise, and a lot more besides that.

However, note that “besides” is not often used in academic writing by native English speakers. It tends to be used mainly in less formal language.

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