What are Linking Words
Sometimes called Connectors or Transitions, these are words or phrases that link ideas together and show the relationship from one idea to the next. For that reason, linking words are vital when you write, and an important part of your Coherence and Cohesion score. In fact, at Band 7, one of the things being scored is your ability to use a range of these connecting words. We also use many of these when we speak as well and they allow us to join ideas more effectively.
Why do we need linking words?
Without connecting words in a text, it would be unclear how each idea or sentence links to the next. Take a look at this text from a body paragraph:
“Local people and some local companies may prefer imported goods rather than purchasing from local vendors. Imported products may be lower priced. Imported products are often produced on a larger scale. Local manufacturers or vendors suffer financially. International trade may damage the economy. The government should reduce the influx of products from foreign countries.”
The reader sees disjointed sentences with no understanding of how each sentence or idea within each sentence connects because there is nothing linking words and phrases together.
Now look at the text again, with proper links:
“Local people and some local companies may prefer imported goods rather than purchasing from local vendors because imported products may be lower priced since they are often produced on a larger scale. As a result, local manufacturers or vendors may suffer financially and this in turn may damage the economy. Thus, the government should reduce the influx of products from foreign countries.”
What types of linking words are there?
There are several types of linking words that perform different functions. Below are some of these as well as useful examples of sentences using connecting words.
These belong at the beginning of the sentence, except for such as and including which are used mid-sentence.
Example: I have been to many countries in Europe, including Spain, Italy and Greece.
- For example
- For instance
- Such as
- That is
Use these when you want to continue your idea with further information. These are important words to know. Moreover is considered formal while besides is informal. Apart from is the only one that can both add information and remove information they way except for can.
Example: Travel is an excellent way to see new places as well as learn about new cultures.
- Apart from
- As well as
- In addition
These linking words show the sequence of your ideas. They are usually used at the beginning of a sentence and are followed by a comma. While we can use firstly, secondly and thirdly, we do not write fourthly or fifthly.
Example: Firstly, entertainment in education can help the learning process.
These are often used with two clauses or joining two separate sentences. The difference between because and because of is that the latter needs to be followed by a noun.
Example: As we were running late, we got ready quickly.
- Because of
- Due to
These can be used to connect two separate sentences, ideas or even paragraphs but they are not all used the same way. For example, words like however, yet and nevertheless can begin a sentence and are followed by a comma. In contrast, although, even though and though cannot be used this way and must be followed by a clause. Despite must be followed by a noun, an -ing word or the fact that.
Example: Extreme sports are known to be dangerous but are considered fun nonetheless.
- Even though
- In comparison
- In contrast
- In spite of
These words and expressions connect ideas to show that one exists because of the other. Hence and thus are considered formal whereas so is informal.
Example: It was raining heavily. Consequently, the game was cancelled.
- As a result
These are expressions used to show we are finishing our essay. Most often these phrases appear at the beginning of the last paragraph.
Example: In conclusion, it is predicted that travel will continue to be important despite any disadvantages it may have.
- In a nutshell
- In brief
- In conclusion
- In short
- In summary
- On the whole
- To conclude
- To summarise
While these linking words are a critical part of your writing, it is also important not to use too many of them in your essays. Higher-level writing uses these when necessary but not at the beginning of every sentence.
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