English tips: linking words

Have you ever found yourself stuck while trying to jump from one subject of conversation to another? Is it hard for you to explain your full point of view in English? Maybe you need to improve your linking skills with the use of linking - or connecting- words.

Alicia Estañ, the Cambridge Exam Manager at the Centro de Idiomas UMH will help you out with some tips about linking words. You can also find this useful lesson in our Youtube channel

Well, why are linking words so important? First of all, they help us to communicate and to express ideas properly, so, even though you don’t know, they’re extremely important in our everyday life. Secondly, examiners love them!

I’d like to mention some useful linking words, because but and and are OK, but there are many more. Let’s begin with however and nevertheless, which are used when we want to contrast ideas. For example: I love going to the beach. However, I don’t go very frequently because I don’t have time.

Then, we come across a couple of words which help us add some information: moreover and in addition.

Also, I’d like to mention some very typical phrases that I use a lot, not only when taking exams, but also in my everyday life: on the one hand and on the other hand. We use them when we want to contrast to different ideas or opinions, for examples when talking about the advantages or disadvantages of something. For example: On the one hand, I’d love to go somewhere this summer. But on the other hand, I’m saving up for a new car.

And to finish with, we’ll talk about a very difficult word to pronounce, that is whereas. It’s extremely useful - trust me!-, especially when taking the FCE Speaking exam, during part 2, where you’ve got to compare the photographs. I’ll set an example for you: In one of the pictures there are young people playing instruments outdoors, whereas in the other picture, there are children playing indoors.

Hope I’ve helped and remember: linking words are highly useful when talking!