There are a number of connectors in the English Language that can be used to help you show contrast, similarity, outcome, result, sequence and order or relevance or importance, exemplification, emphasis, explanation, dismissal, summarising or concluding, particularising, focusing, timing, and correction. Connectors are especially useful when it comes to your IELTS writing exam and the Speaking exam.
Below is a list of all the connectors within the English language categorized by what they are used for. There are also examples to help you see how they are applied. First we review connectors for the speaking.
- Likewise (can be used for both the writing and speaking tests)
In his budget the Minister of Finance increased spending on higher education, he likewise improved spending on social development.
- In the same way (can be used for both the writing and speaking tests)
Religious doctrine is used to teach people right from wrong in the same way as fables were used to teach simple human truths.
- Similarly (can be used for both the writing and speaking tests)
Italian painters are renowned for their innovative works. The Greeks are similarly known for their philosophies.
- Also (can be used for both the writing and speaking, but there are more academic sounding alternatives to “also” to use in your essays).
Employees of any large organisation expect fair treatment. They also expect to earn a fair wage.
- Correspondingly (writing)
The cost of living in large cities is higher than in the country but the salaries are correspondingly higher.
- Simultaneously (writing)
Most governments simultaneously tackle crime and unemployment as they are seen as two sides of the same coin.
- In the same breath (writing)
Many countries express the view that climate change must be halted. In the same breath they throw suspicion on the whole global warming issue.
Connectors for Outcome and Result (writing)
- Therefore (ok for both)
Most governments believe in the importance of education. They are, therefore, willing to invest large amounts of money in improving the quality of the education.
- As a consequence (ok for both)
The nuclear disaster at Fukushima was worse than the scientists had anticipated. As a consequence the Japanese government has changed the way that nuclear power plants are built.
- Thus (more for writing)
The local council received additional funding for the arts. They were, thus able to renovate the art gallery on the city centre.
- As a result (neutral, can be used in the speaking and in your essays)
It rains quite often in Europe, as a result, most Europeans tend to vacation in sunnier destinations.
- Accordingly (writing)
The quality of products started to decrease rapidly so the government acted accordingly and started to inspect all incoming goods.
Humans only use on average about 10% of their brains. They are, nonetheless, able to compute huge amounts of data, coming up with ever more innovative ideas.
I really wasn’t feeling very well, I, nevertheless, went to work because I had a presentation to do.
- In contrast
Coastal tourism is on the rise. In contrast, visits to urban areas are declining as people reduce business travel and confine meetings to video conferencing.
The government planned to re-introduce the death penalty. There was, however, a public outcry and they had to halt the legislation.
Today most people are aware of the dangers of smoking and yet many people continue to damage their health by smoking
- All the same (more suited for spoken English)
Tourists are often drawn by inner city art otherwise known as graffiti. All the same many city councils regularly remove the art.
- In any case (more for spoken English)
The much anticipated outdoor exhibition was called off at the last minute. In any case the weather was awful so the exhibition would not have drawn many visitors
- Instead (ok for both)
America should consider amending their gun laws, instead, they ignore the problem.
- On the contrary (ok for both)
The curator of the museum was of the opinion that the Antiquities room would draw the most interest. He found, on the contrary, that the natural sciences display was much more popular.
- By comparison (ok for writing)
Tourism in the 20th century has been driven by the availability of high speed transport. By comparison, in the 19th century, tourists had to rely on ships and trains to get to their destinations.
- On the other hand (more used in writing but can be used when speaking too)
Some people contend that antibacterial soaps and detergents are good because they ensure a bacteria free environment. On the other hand, there are those who disagree arguing that ridding the environment of microbes robs us of the ability to form an immune response.
Connectors to illustrate a sequence (speaking)
- For one thing
He was asked why he seldom read the newspapers. His reply “For one thing, the news is depressing, for another, I prefer to spend my spare time watching documentaries.”
- To begin with
He found that the work was easy to begin with, but it got progressively more difficult as he went along.
- For another thing
People with common sense should quit smoking. For one thing it costs a fortune. For another thing it is dangerous and can lead to a number of nasty diseases.
The charity was looking for volunteer workers to man the stalls. They also needed people who were prepared to stay overnight and look after the valuable goods that would go on sale over the weekend.
Connectors to illustrate a sequence (writing)
- First, Firstly, In the first place, First of all
The local council should not allow people to sleep on the streets in the first place.
- Second, Secondly, In the second place
It is first and foremost the government’s responsibility create employment. In the second place they should ensure that employers treat their workers fairly and with respect.
- Third, Thirdly, In the third place
In seeking employment she wanted to ensure that she followed her dreams. Secondly she wanted a decent wage and thirdly she hoped that there were opportunities for promotion.
- Last, Lastly, Last of all (can also be used in your speaking)
Lastly it is the responsibility of the most senior member of staff to ensure that the offices are locked and secured at the end of the day
- In addition
The organisation offered to make amends for any problems that had been caused by the misinformation that had been published in their magazine. In addition, they discounted the next edition of the glossy publication.
Besides the medical aid costing too much, it fails to offer even the most basic of out of hospital services
Over the years computers have become more and more powerful, moreover they have also become less expensive.
The houses in the neighbourhood were large and spacious. Furthermore, they had easy access to public transport.
The shipment of computers was three weeks late, but when it finally arrived the staff agreed that the quality and high speed made the wait worthwhile.
Order of relevance or importance
- Most importantly (suitable for both the speaking and the writing tests)
We should discuss how to maintain a work life balance, most importantly, how organisations can ensure that employees are not overworked.
- Most significantly (suitable for both the speaking and the writing tests)
The president said that the year ahead would be different. Most significantly he indicated that he would re-allocate funding to obtaining additional resources.
- Essentially, Basically (suitable for both the speaking and the writing tests)
The manager said that it was basically the responsibility of every employee to ensure that the customers were delighted with the service that they received.
- Above all (suitable for both the speaking and the writing tests)
The leader of the opposition said that it was his responsibility to ensure that the government was transparent. Above all he was concerned that corruption is kept at bay.
- Primarily (more common to write this word than say it)
The government is primarily responsible for the welfare of the people.
Exemplification – Giving Examples
- For example (suitable for both)
If, for example, we could put the well-being of others before ourselves the world would be a much happier place for all.
- For instance (suitable for both)
Modern urban populations are battling lifestyle diseases brought on by obesity. Diabetes, for instance, is growing in prevalence and more and more people have to take chronic medication.
- To illustrate
Misinformation can cause many disagreements. To illustrate, a company advertising goods at an incorrect price could lead to disgruntled customers.
- In fact (suitable for both)
It could be argued that trade sanctions are trouble for the economy. In fact, many would say that the imposition of sanctions could start a war.
- Actually (more commonly found when speaking)
The doctor thought that the patient had measles when, actually, it was something far more severe.
- As a matter of fact (more commonly found when speaking)
What most people fail to understand is that travelling isn’t for everyone, as a matter of fact, many people prefer to settle down in one place.
- Indeed (could be difficult to use this phrase naturally in spoken English, therefore better for the writing).
Indeed, it may be a lot easier to just give up on passing your driver’s licence test.
The teacher had pointed out various countries around the world, namely, Portugal, Brazil, India and Australia.
- That is to say (that is) (more suitable for spoken English)
He was not found guilty in a court of law that is to say he walked out scot free.
- Put differently (“in other words” can also be used) (use this in spoken English)
It gets really busy during the holiday season and the beaches tend to get crowded, put differently, rather go to the beach before the holiday season starts.
- In other words (more suitable for speaking)
There is much to discuss before choosing to start a family, in other words, think before you rush into it.
Dismissal (dismissing what has been said prior)
- Anyhow (definitely a spoken phrase, not academic)
Anyhow, I’ll just take the next train instead.
- At any rate
At any rate, learning a new language will not be easy.
- Anyway (informal)
Anyway, I will leave the function early.
Summarising or Concluding
- In summary (formal)
In summary, I have come to the realisation that communication plays a big role in the success of a team.
- To sum up (both informal and formal)
To sum up my thoughts, I think choosing a single piece of art from a couple hundred is rather difficult.
- In conclusion (academic written English)
In conclusion, winning isn’t necessarily the most important thing, it’s the way you played the game.
- In brief (spoken English)
In brief, today’s headlines were depressing.
- All in all (spoken English)
The project turned out okay, all in all, I think everyone did a fantastic job.
- Most specifically (ok for both)
Eating vegetables is very good for eyesight, most specifically, carrots are thought to improve your night vision.
- In particular, particularly (ok for both)
Nearly a third of teenage girls will experience some form of abuse, in particular, physical abuse by a boyfriend.
Focusing and Linking
- With respect to (ok for both)
With respect to the contract, we regret that we are unable to accept the terms and conditions.
- Regarding (ok for both)
Regarding the proposal, we regret that we are unable to agree with some of your requirements.
- With regard to (more formal, better for the writing test)
With regard to your application for employment, I regret to inform you that you have not succeeded in securing the job.
- As for (ok for both)
The entire dance troupe failed to impress the judges. As for the main dancer the less said the better.
- As far as (ok for both)
As far as I could see the travel destination was more than adequate for what we had in mind.
- Talking of / speaking of (speaking test)
Talking of relocating, do you know where you going to stay? Have you found and apartment?
- When it comes to
Sometimes when it comes to debating it is best to let your opponent have the last word.
- Then (ok for both)
The municipal workers went on a day long course, then they took an exam.
- Afterwards (ok for both)
The Olympic team practiced for the bulk of the day. Afterwards they relaxed and spent time with their families
- At First (ok for both)
At first, I wasn’t sure how to start my preparation for the IELTS test and then I discovered IELTS Podcast.
- Meanwhile (ok for both)
The US and China are fighting over import duties, meanwhile the world economy is suffering.
- Later (ok for both)
I went to university to study accounting, later, I changed to engineering.
- In the mean time (ok for both)
I plan to go to university next year. In the mean time I’d like to travel abroad.
- To be more precise (ok for both)
I was not referring to a single doctrine, to be more precise I meant that I believe that all religions are biased.
- Rather (ok for both)
She wanted to be a dentist rather than a doctor.