Linking words


The correct choice and usage of linking words can make all the difference to your writing.

Do you know all the linking words in this table?

TIME/ORDER: At first, eventually. Finally, firstly, in the end, in the first place, in the second place, lastly, later, second, secondly, later next., to begin with

 COMPARISON/ SIMILAR IDEAS: In comparison, in the same way, similarly

CONTRAST/ OPPOSITE IDEAS: But, despite, in spite of, even so, however, in contrast, in spite of this, nevertheless, on the contrary, on the other hand, still whereas, yet

CAUSE AND EFFECT: Accordingly, as a consequence, as a result, because, because of this, consequently, for this reason, hence, in consequence, in order to, owing to this, since, so, so that, therefore, thus

 EXAMPLES: For example, for instance, such as, thus, as follows

GENERALISATION: As a rule, for the most part, generally, in general, normally, on the whole, in most cases, usually

STATING THE OBVIOUS: After all, as one might expect, clearly, it goes without saying, naturally, obviously, of course, surely

ATTITUDE: Admittedly, certainly, fortunately, luckily, oddly enough, strangely enough, undoubtedly, unfortunately

SUMMARY/ CONCLUSION: Finally, in brief, in conclusion, in short, overall, so, then, to conclude, to sum up

EXPLANATION/EQUIVALENCE: In other words, namely, or rather, that is to say, this means, to be more precise, to put it another way

ADDITION: Apart from this, as well as, besides, furthermore, in addition moreover, nor, not only, but also, too, what is more

CONDITION: In that case, then

SUPPORT: Actually, as a matter of fact, in fact, indeed

CONTRADICTION: Actually, as a matter of fact, in fact

EMPHASIS: Chiefly, especially, in detail, mainly, notably, particularly

 Taken from Using English for Academic Purposes web site, signalling by Gillett, n.d, retrieved 27, 2007,

Practise using the words above at this page from Birmingham City University. Identify and categorise the words here at RMIT. Check you know how and where to use the words – University of Victoria have a table you can use herelinking2.

If you want to try an exercise practising easier, more common linking words, try this page from EC. Or rewrite the sentences at Learn English Today, and then check your answers here. Here’s the list of easier, more common words.

Got some free wall space at home? Print out this list of linking words!

linkingFor a slightly more fun approach, try listening to The Flatmates – the soap opera from BBC World Service Learning English. They have some work on linking words here.

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