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Overusing linking words!

Firstly, I would like to say that some people use too many linkers. However, some use a good amount of linkers. In addition, they use them in the right places. For example, they put linkers in the middle of paragraphs. Nonetheless, there are many students who do not follow this strategy. In other words, they use lots of linkers.

All the above sentences begin with a word or phrase to follow on from the previous sentence, except the first one which introduces a list. Unfortunately, there is a tendency among many IELTS candidates to write like this because they have been told that they must use a wide variety of linking devices. This is true, but if you begin every sentence with a linking word or phrase, your writing will sound very artificial and you will NOT achieve a very high band score for ‘cohesion and coherence’. Also, an overuse of linkers shows that the candidate has a very limited range of sentence structures and cannot develop the main idea of the paragraph properly.

Below is a more natural version of the paragraph with fewer linkers:

Firstly, I would like to say that some people use too many linkers. They add them at the beginning of every single sentence which is often not necessary. In contrast, some students use an appropriate amount of linkers which they place correctly, sometimes in the middle or at the ends of sentences too.

Notice how other cohesive devices are used to join parts of sentences together such us ‘which’ and ‘too’. You don’t always need to use formal linking words. You might also want to experiment with using linkers in different positions in a sentence; in the middle (‘however’) or at the end (‘for instance’). But remember to use the correct punctuation when you do so; linkers in the middle or at the end of a sentence are usually preceded by a comma.

Don’t forget that linkers are for developing ideas so you don’t always need them if your ideas flow well. Next time you are reading a newspaper or magazine article in English notice how different linkers are used naturally in context. Also think about the purpose of each linking word. For example, is it being used to add a new idea or contrast a different idea? It’s a good idea to try out using a range of different ones in your writing, but make sure you don’t overuse them (not more than 1 linker every 2-3 sentences).

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Shruthi - India

Shruthi - India

I wanted a course which specialised in Academic IELTS, and fortunately found the iPass IELTS website. I chose the Excel course because of the 3 speaking and writing practice tests, plus the aspect of personal tutoring appealed to me.

I was happy to find extensive resources on the site which helped me practise for all 4 parts of the exam. Both Jenny and Nigel would promptly reply to my every query, especially as I had only 4 weeks to prep for my exam. I especially liked the fact that their feedback always highlighted “good language” and made necessary corrections whenever I went wrong, I am especially thankful for this because I never really consciously knew what was, as Jenny puts it “good use of colloquism”, so once I realised what it meant, I began to use it for all my assignments.

I don’t think any other IELTS course has as interactive a facebook page as iPassIELTS. I was overjoyed when I won 2 Friday contests, because I got feedback for two more assignments, which was very helpful. Because of the repeated speaking practise tests, I had a very good idea of what to expect when I went for the exam; in fact, in Part I of my speaking test, I almost repeated verbatim what Jenny had approved of as “good language”.

My IELTS results are as follows:


Overall, I have scored what I set out to achieve and I am truly grateful for Nigel and Jenny’s dedication to helping aspirants like myself all over the world! (The Excel course remains true to its name!) Thank you so much for all your help. This score will give me the competitive edge I need when I apply for PhD, and hopefully scholarships, in Australia.

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