Linking Expressions | IELTS Essay Vocabulary

We use certain words or phrases to show how ideas flow between sentences. These are called discourse markers. These cohesive elements improve your writing and make it easy to understand what you are trying to say.

There are lots of linking structures / discourse markers in English. It is impossible to learn all of them. It is not necessary either. The most common examples are given below. Note that linking expressions usually come at the beginning of a sentence. They are not conjunctions and they do not connect clauses. They can be removed without causing any ungrammaticality. Of course, some meaning will be lost if cohesive elements are removed from a sentence.

Words used to focus or link

As regards

As for

With reference to


Speaking of

Words used to balance contrasting points



On the other hand

Words used to emphasize a contrast





In spite of

Words used to show similarity

In the same way



Of course

It is true that

Words used to present the counter argument

Even so




All the same

Words used to contradict

On the contrary

Words used to dismiss what has already been said

At any rate

At least



Words used to suggest that you are changing the subject


By the way

Words used to show the structure of what we are saying

First/firstly, second/secondly, lastly, finally

For one thing, for another thing

To start with / to begin with

In the first / second / third place

Words used to add information to what has already been said

Moreover, furthermore (formal)

In addition, what is more, besides, on top of that

Words used to generalize

On the whole, in general

In most cases

Broadly speaking

To a great extent

Words used to give examples

For instance, for example

In particular

Words used to show logical consequence



As a result

Hence, thus, so, then

Words used to make things clearer or to give more information


In other words

That is to say

Words used to express your opinion

I think, I feel, I reckon

In my opinion / view

I believe that

Words used to show your attitude to what you are saying



No doubt

Words used to sum up what has already been said

In conclusion

To conclude

In short

To sum up

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Manjusha Nambiar

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