TOEFL IBT grammar – Linking Words

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Daily use of linking words in English grammar

When writing and speaking, it is useful to use words which connect one idea to another to help the reader or listener follow along. There are different categories of linking words which serve specific purposes. Therefore, it is important to understand the usage of the word (contrasting, adding new information, expressing cause and effect, etc.), and whether or not a word fits into the structure of the sentence. The following is a list of many of these linking words with example sentences.

Sequencing :

First(ly), second(ly), third(ly), before, previously, earlier, then, next, finally, lastly, the former/the latter.

Example :

  • Firstly, I’d like to present the current production method at our factory. 
  • Secondly, I will show how this new method can increase productivity. 
  • Of the two types of production methods mentioned, only the latter gives operators greater decision-making powers.

Expressing Alternatives

Both…and, either…or, neither…nor, not only…but also, whether…or, between…and, instead (of)…

  • Both Sarah and Sam are available.
  • Either the manager or the sales reps are available.
  • Neither the sales reps nor their manager is available.
  • We can’t be sure whether the sales manager is available or not.
  • Instead of calling, why don’t you send an email ? 

Adding another point

Also, too, as well, in addition (to), additionally, furthermore, moreover.

  • Besides telephones, the company produces transmitters, as well.
  • The company produces transmitters in addition to telephones.
  • Furthermore, we have recently added a transmitter production facility to our site.

Contrasting ideas

Even though, (al)though, despite, in spite of, however, nevertheless, whereas, on the one hand…on the other hand.

  • Even though Amanda had signed the contract, she wanted them to change some of the terms.
  • Despite Amanda’s signing of the contract, she wanted them to change some of the terms.
  • The company thought everything was clear, whereas Amanda didn’t.

Expressing consequences or cause and effect

Because (of), since, so, so that, therefore, consequently, thus, as a result.

  • Since you didn’t call back, I had to make the decision on my own.
  • You didn’t call back; therefore, I made the decision on my own.
  • You didn’t call back so I made the decision on my own. 

The real situation

In fact, as a matter of fact, actually, in reality.

  • In fact, we don’t really offer 1000 free tablets to first-time customers. 

Things to look out for on the TOEFL

Parallel construction with expressing alternatives (and in other sentence structures, as well)

  • The research project will need both time and money. (‘both’ + noun…‘and’ + noun)
  • For some people, learning English is either too difficult or too time-consuming. (‘either’ + adjective…’or’ + adjective)

‘Also’ is generally at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence, whereas, ‘too’ and ‘as well’ are usually at the end.

  • Customers are also provided with free parking.
  • Customers are provided with free parking, too.

‘In addition’ can stand alone (followed by a ‘,’) or be followed by ‘to’ if there is a noun after.

  • We have already requested a full refund. In addition, we will ask the company for an apology.
  • In addition to the refund we requested, we will also ask the company for an apology.

‘Even though’, ‘although’ and ‘though’ are followed by a subject and a verb.

  • Even though he had negotiated a good deal, he still wasn’t satisfied.

‘Despite’ and ‘in spite of’ are followed by nouns

  • Despite his well-negotiated deal, he still wasn’t satisfied.

‘Because’ is followed by a subject and a verb whereas ‘because of’ is followed by a noun

  • He missed his connection because of the train strike.
  • Because the trains were on strike, he missed his connection.

‘Actually’ is a false cognate which means ‘in fact’. It does NOT mean ‘presently’ or ‘now’.

  • Contrary to what some people say, we are actually one of the highest paying employers in this sector and don’t have any trouble finding new recruits.

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