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Please have a look on the following example of mine and let me know whether my conclusion is correct or I have to know something else about this specific topic:

  • The library on 5th Avenue in New York City is one of the best places to do research. ……………… it has hundreds of the most respected magazines and journals in the world.

a) moreover

b) furthermore

c) in addition

d) additionally

e) as well as that

f) on top of that

g) besides

For me all of these adverbs can be used in the blank above and they all add new information to what is already known and consequently can easily be swapped everywhere.

In summary, for me:

1) All these adverbs mean the same.

2a) Moreover = Furthermore = In addition = Additionally ==> All are formal and can be swapped with each other everywhere freely

2b) As well as that = On top of that = Besides ==> All are informal and can be swapped with each other everywhere freely (therefore cannot be used e.g. in a business formal letter.)

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I would agree with your conclusion, with two slight exceptions.

As well as that — This doesn't seem to fit; I can't say why, other than it seems incorrect/unfamiliar. But the BBC website lists it as a "linking word" (conjunctive adverb), so I guess it is ok. (although it might be regional to the UK)

Besides — it's not really "informal", but this word has additional connotations. The other words and phrases all are essentially the English term for "+": you are appending to a list of ideas. But "besides" includes contrast, at least when used as an introductory clause in a sentence. It basically says to the listener/reader, "This is another point, but even if you neglect everything I've said before, this point on its own is of prime importance." Here's an example:

I don't think we should hire Phil as a child worker. He was a bit vague when he was talking about how he'd act in a crisis. He had trouble concentrating during the interview. And he doesn't have any references other than his brother and uncle. Besides, he just got out of prison for a molestation charge.

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