I have a complicated text, but I built three sentences with the main idea. I'd like to use one of the linking words below for the last sentence, depending on the meaning.

We chose a reliable tea maker, but it may still not be working. Should we consider tea as very important, we can make it ourselves (without the automatic machine). LINKER, if that is not even possible, there are other options, such as buying in the nearest coffeehouse tea.

What option would be best for the linker?

  • In addition

  • However

The overall goal is to ensure that tea is available. The italics show the three main ideas in the text. The "not being possible" is contrasting to "being possible". However, the idea of having other "tea-making" options is an added layer of trust (of tea availability). The real question is not about the linker itself, but the meaning of it. Am I adding information, or showing a contrasting idea?

I know we can omit the linker and just use "If that is not possible...", but I'm curious about this. More than the specific word to use, I'm interested in the correct meaning.

EDIT: I tried to illustrate my situation with a practical example, merely for clarification.

The old version of the sentences was:

We prepared ourselves so that "some stuff" is probably available, but it may not be the case. If "some stuff" is very important, we can create it ourselves. LINKER, if that is not even possible, there are other "stuff-making" options, such as: ...

  • I think you should reconsider your usage of the second bullet point. It might be better to simply group all "stuff-making" options into one point: If "some stuff" is very important, there are "stuff-making" options.... You might want to specify that creating it (or having it created) is only an action that would be taken if "some stuff" were not available. – Ian MacDonald Mar 4 '15 at 19:01
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    You know, sometimes (usually) the best way to handle this sort of thing is to write it out the best way you know how, then come back, after you have more context, and re-read through the entire piece. Very often what seems good in isolation is not so hot when placed in the context of several other paragraphs, and surprisingly often your original inclination, before you "fixed" it the first time, is better than the version you anguished over. (And in other cases you realize that you really need to reconstruct several adjacent paragraphs.) – Hot Licks Apr 8 '15 at 22:40

I agree with Ian MacDonald's comment that your text will flow better if you rework the second sentence than if you focus on introducing a transition word or phrase ("however" or "in addition"), simply in order to delay the appearance of a second "if" by a word or two.

Here is how I might try to present the three main ideas that you identify in your question:

We have made arrangements to increase the likelihood that "some stuff" will be available, though its availability cannot be guaranteed. We also have the ability to create "some stuff" ourselves. In addition, there are other "stuff-making" options, such as ...

With regard your question about whether the third sentence/idea represents an additional option or a contrasting notion, I note in the first place that the referent for "that" in the phrase "if that is not even possible" isn't at all clear, which makes the phrase something of a liability to the sentence's overall coherence. But since you don't need to present the third idea/alternative as something to consider only if the first two fall through, I see no reason to use the phrase at all.

By presenting the three ideas as unconditional options, you make the third sentence an instance of "adding information," which makes "In addition" an appropriate transition phrase.

  • I edited the question, removing the confusing bullet points and presenting an example. I hope this makes the question clearer. – bandrade Feb 4 '16 at 13:01
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    Considering everything, including the comment from Hot Licks, it seems fair that I should worry about the clarity of the text more than this specific issue. – bandrade Feb 4 '16 at 15:28

I found the wording of your question hard to parse, but here's my understanding of it: you're starting with one of the two bullet points, then using either in addition or however as a "linker" to the options. (I'm not sure how the issue of "trust" comes into this, so I won't be addressing it.)

The real question is not about the linker itself, but the meaning of it. Am I adding information, or showing a contrasting idea?

The context appears to be the thinking process behind preparations for an activity (e.g. "stuff" = meals for camping, "options" = ingredients for meals).

If your intent is that the options are part of the core of the preparations, then you would use the idea of in addition.

On the other hand, the wording suggests that your intent is for the options to be a contingency (either for the activity or for its preparation). In that case, however would be more appropriate.

  • Actually, I intended to continue the first two sentences, as a sequence, onto the third one. As you mentioned in one of the hypotheses, this is meant to be a sequence of contingencies. I hope my recent edit conveys the idea in a better way. – bandrade Feb 4 '16 at 12:53
  • @bandrade In that case, you are proposing a contingency, so however would be more appropriate. – Lawrence Feb 4 '16 at 12:56
  • After the confusion with my question, thank you for (sort of) understanding what it was that I was asking. That said, I will still vote up your answer, but I accept the answer from Sven Yargs, since it makes me focus more on the "big picture". – bandrade Feb 4 '16 at 15:27

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