If you want to improve your writing skills, you must use connectors. These, also called linkers, connectives or linking words, are the glue that holds your sentences together. A text wouldn’t be a proper text if we didn’t use connectors appropriately. However, this is one of the things that lower-intermediate and intermediate English students struggle with most. Sometimes, they don’t know an appropriate one to use or they don’t know how to use it properly. For this reason, in this post, we will go over some essential connectors which are simply perfect for intermediate English learners. I have divided them into 3 groups: reason, purpose and result; contrast, and addition.
Reason, purpose and result connectors
because (of), as, since
We use these three linking words to give a reason for something. “Because” is more common than “as” and “since”.
“She didn’t tell him because/as/since she was afraid to.”
We use “because of” when the reason is a noun, not a sentence.
“Jack knew Laura because of his brother.”
“We didn’t recognise him because of the sunglasses.”
So and therefore
We use “so” and “therefore” when we give the result of something. “So” is usually in the middle of a sentence, whereas “therefore” usually appears at the beginning and followed by a comma.
“I’m really tired so I won’t go out tonight.”
“I’m really tired. Therefore, I won’t go out tonight.”
To and in order to
We use “to” and “in order” to when we explain why we do something, the purpose. They are always followed by an infinitive.
“I have joined an academy to learn English.”
“I’ve joined an academy in order to learn English.”
We can also answer a Why…? question using “to” or “in order to“.
“Why have you joined an academy? To/In order to learn English.”
But, although and though
These linking words connect two contrasting ideas and are followed by a clause (pronoun/noun + verb). “But” is normally in the middle of a sentence, preceded by a comma, while “although/though” can go in the middle and at the beginning.
“The hotel was excellent, but the food was not good.”
“The hotel was excellent although/though the food was not good.”
“Although/though the food was not good, the hotel was excellent.”
In spite of / despite
“In spite of” / “despite” are used to contrast two ideas. These connectors are followed by a noun or an -ing phrase; never by a pronoun/noun + verb. They can be used either at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence. You can find more information in this post and here.
“The hotel was excellent despite the food being bad/the bad food.”
“The hotel was excellent in spite of the food being bad/the bad food.”
“Despite the food being bad/the bad food, the hotel was excellent.”
“In spite of the food being bad/the bad food, the hotel was excellent.”
“However” is a word which connects two different contrasting sentences. It’s normally used at the beginning of a sentence and should be followed by a comma.
“The hotel was excellent. However, the food was awful.”
“People tend to put on weight in middle age. However, gaining weight is not inevitable”
Also, too, in addition, moreover
We use these linking words to add more information to something we have said.
“Too” normally goes at the end and is used in positive sentences. “Also” (as a sentence adverb), “in addition” and “moreover” usually go at the beginning.
“Buying car is a long-term commitment. Also, a car is very expensive to run.”
“Buying car is a long-term commitment. In addition, a car is very expensive to run.”
“Buying car is a long-term commitment. Moreover, a car is very expensive to run.”
“Buying car is a long-term commitment. A car is very expensive to run, too.”
All these words will definitely be essential in your writings for Preliminary (PET) or First (FCE), so make sure you know how to use them properly. Also, if you’re interested in this topic, I suggest going for blogs like this one where you can find plenty more connectors and explanations.
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