Linking words are essential for your writing to be natural and clear.
Linking devices vary in three ways:
1. Position in the text.
Some linking words normally form a link between clauses WITHIN a sentence. It is bad style to start a sentence with these words:
and but so because then until such as
are examples of this type of linking word.
Another type of linking device is used to form a link BETWEEN sentences. These words must start with a capital letter and are usually immediately followed by a comma:
Furthermore, Moreover, However, Nevertheless, Therefore, In conclusion,
are used in this way.
Most linking words, however, can either start a sentence or form a link between sentences. The choice is up to the writer.
2. The function of linking words
Linking devices provide a text with cohesion and illustrate how the parts of the text relate to each other. Here are some of the functions which linking words provide.
Adding extra information to the main point, contrasting ideas, expressing cause and effect, showing exactly when something happened (narrating), expressing purpose (why?) and opinion, listing examples, making conclusions and giving emphasis.
3. Grammatical differences
Some linking words must be followed by a clause (Subject + Verb + Object).
E.g.. while why because although so whereas when
Other linking words should be followed by a noun phrase (Linking word + (the) + Noun/Pronoun or gerund)
E.g.. because of despite during in spite of
The majority of linking devices can be followed by either a noun phrase or a clause.
Here is a list of the principal linking words in English, their function and if their position is usually fixed.
Expressing cause / reason
as well as
What is more,
not only .... but also
another point is that
whose to whom
In spite of
On the contrary,
on the one hand
on the other hand,
This is why
For this reason,
Expressing effect / result
As a result,
First (of all)
At the beginning
In the beginning
As soon as
At the end
In the end
To begin with,
so as to
in order that
I would say that
In my opinion,
I think (that)
I believe (that)
Summing up / concluding
For one thing,
such as e.g.. (for example)
i.e. (that is)
All in all
on the whole
in the main
To sum up,
too / enough
The more ....
* Avoid starting a sentence with these words.
The linking words beginning with a capital letter often start a sentence. For those without, position in a sentence is optional.
Linking words - Difficult cases
AVOID STARTING A SENTENCE WITH THIS WORD!
'So' can be used in two ways:
1. To show RESULT.
E.g.. It was raining, so we decided not to go to the beach.
NOTE! 'because' shows the REASON. The above sentence could be expressed like this:
E.g.. We decided not to go to the beach because it was raining.
NOTE! To show a REASON LINK BETWEEN SENTENCES use 'Therefore,'.
2. So & such used for EMPHASIS.
When used for emphasis, 'So' must be followed by either an adjective or an adverb and must be linked to an explanation CLAUSE.
E.g.. It was so hot that we decided not to go to the beach.
OR We decided not to go to the beach because it was so hot.
NOTE! 'such' is used in the same way, but must be followed by a NOUN or ADJECTIVE+NOUN.
E.g.. It was such a hot day that we decided not to go to the beach.
OR We decided not to go to the beach because it was such a hot day.
NOTE! When there is no explanation clause, use 'VERY', unless referring to a present situation.
E.g.. It was very hot yesterday, wasn't it? It's so nice to see you again!
Enough and too
'enough' goes AFTER ADJECTIVES & ADVERBS but BEFORE NOUNS.
E.g.. You won't pass the exam if you don't work hard enough.
OR He didn't get the job because he didn't have enough experience.
'enough' can also be used alone.
E.g.. I'll lend you some money if you haven't got enough.
'too' means 'more than necessary' and comes BEFORE ADJECTIVES & ADVERBS ONLY.
E.g.. The coffee was too hot to drink.
But and However,
'but' is used to CONTRAST clauses WITHIN A SENTENCE.
E.g.. I like going to the beach, but I never go at midday.
'However,' has the same function, but is used to show CONTRAST BETWEEN SENTENCES.
E.g.. I've always enjoyed going to the beach. However, I never go there at midday.
Although, though, even though & In spite of / despite,
'Although' must join two clauses, but it's position can change. It can either start a sentence or come in the middle.
E.g.. Although it rained a lot, we enjoyed the holiday.
OR We enjoyed the holiday although it rained a lot.
In spoken English 'though' can be used instead of 'although' when it is used for the second clause.
E.g.. "I didn't get the job though I had all the necessary qualifications."
'though' can also come at the end of a sentence.
E.g.. "The house isn't very nice. I like the garden though."
'Even though' is a stronger form of 'although'.
E.g.. Even though I was really tired, I couldn't sleep.
'In spite of' or 'Despite' must be followed by a NOUN, PRONOUN (this, that, what etc.) or ~ING.
E.g.. In spite of the rain, we went to the beach.
OR We went to the beach in spite of the rain.
It is common to use the expression 'In spite of the fact (that)....' or 'Despite the fact (that)....'
E.g.. She's quite fit in spite of the fact that she smokes 40 cigarettes a day.
Linking words of time - Still, yet and already
'Still' tells us that an action is continuing, or hasn't happened yet. It has positive, negative and question forms.
E.g.. It's 10 o'clock and John's still in bed.
or She said that she would be here an hour ago and she still hasn't come.
or Are you still living in London?
'yet' asks if something has happened, or to say that something hasn't happened. It is mainly used in NEGATIVES & QUESTIONS and comes at the end of a sentence. 'Yet' is usually used with the present perfect tense.
E.g.. He hasn't finished the report yet.
OR Is dinner ready yet?
'Already' is used to say that something happened before expected, it usually comes in middle position, but can also come in final position. 'Already' is not used in negatives and in British English is only used in questions to show considerable surprise.
E.g.. I'll tell her that dinner is ready.
She already knows.
Have you finished already?! I thought it would take you longer!
In order to understand this type of linking word, you must be clear about the concepts of 'a point in time' and 'a period of time'. A point in time is the answer to a 'when' question, and a period of time is the answer to a 'how long' question.
E.g.. Points of time = 6pm, Wednesday, she arrived, summer, 1999, Christmas, five minutes ago.
Periods of time = 3 seconds, 4 days, ages, 100 years, the Christmas holiday, five minutes.
During and while
Both 'during' and 'while' tell us WHEN something happened. The difference between them is that 'during' is followed by a noun phrase (no verb), and 'while' is followed by a clause (subject + verb + object).
E.g.. When did you go to Barcelona?
I went there during my holiday in Europe.
I went there while I was on holiday in Europe.
'By' means 'at some time before' and tells us when something happens. It is followed by point in time and can be used for both past and future time.
E.g.. This report must be finished by 6pm.
'By the time' has the same meaning but is followed by a clause. It is common with perfect tenses.
E.g.. By the time we get there the party will have finished.
For, since and until
These words all tell us how long something happens. 'For' focuses on duration and can be used in most tenses. It is followed by a period of time.
'Since' is only used with perfect tenses and must be followed by a point in time.
E.g.. They stayed in Barcelona for two weeks.
OR They've been in Barcelona since last Friday. = They are still in Barcelona now.
'Until' also tells us how long something happens, but the focus is on the end of the action or situation. It is followed by a point in time.
E.g.. They stayed in Barcelona until last Friday. = They left Barcelona last Friday.
Not....any more/longer and no longer
These expressions tell us that a situation has changed. 'not....any more/longer' go at the end of a sentence and 'no longer' is used in the middle of a sentence.
E.g.. Mr. Jones doesn't work here any longer. OR She no longer works here.
As & like
'As' and 'like' can be used in COMPARISONS.
However, 'As' MUST BE FOLLOWED BY A CLAUSE, and 'like' MUST BE FOLLOWED BY A NOUN.
E.g.. He worked for the company, as his father had done before him.
OR She acts like a child sometimes.
'As' can also be followed by a preposition
E.g.. In 1998, as in 1997, inflation in Brazil fell steadily.
'(not) as....as ' + ADJECTIVE or ADVERB shows EQUALITY or INEQUALITY.
E.g.. She isn't as tall as her father was. OR The traffic can be as bad in Rio as it is in São Paulo.
'As' can be used to state the ROLE, JOB or FUNCTION of a person or thing.
E.g.. We all worked together as a team. OR She worked as a manager in the Human Resources Department. OR He used his handkerchief as a flag to attract attention.
'As' can be used in the same way as 'because'; however, it gives less emphasis than 'because'.
E.g.. As the weather was so bad, we didn't go to the beach.
OR I bought her some flowers as she had been so kind to me.
'As' tells us that actions occur at the same time.
E.g.. As the door opened, she saw him standing by the wall.
'As' is often used in these common expressions:
As hard as, as soon as, as long as, as well as, as far as, as good as.
E.g.. He can stay here as far as I'm concerned. You can go as long as you come home early.
'As' is also the preposition used after these verbs:
Regarded as see sth. as be thought of as Be looked on as.