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Learn English: How to use linking words when you're speaking

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Linking.

Pixabay CC: José Manuel Botana

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Using linking words is one of the ways to demonstrate coherence, according to English teacher Gwendolen Warnick. Coherence is one of the skills assessed in English speaking tests so we asked Gwen to share some tips.

Gwen recommends learners practise grammar and sentence structure.

"English has a very simple sentence structure. It's always just subject + verb," she says.

"If you've got one subject + verb, you've got an independent clause. If you add a linking word like 'and' or 'nor' or 'but', then you can add another subject and another verb. Then you have two clauses. That becomes a different type of sentence called a compound sentence."

Gwen recommends you remember 'FANBOYS', which stands for 'for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so'.

Other linking words include:

  • because
  • since
  • although
  • even though
  • unless
  • provided that
  • as long as

"When you use these, you're going to join something to a clause. It's either a noun phase or another subject + verb," Gwen says.

Note that if you ever use more than one subject + verb, you need to add a linking word in the middle and Gwen says the best way to learn linking words is to learn words in context.

"A book is a really good place to start. Reading is always a great source of sentence structure examples. Find them and practise them yourself," she says.

Gwen also says you can find grammar books and grammar practice resources online.

"In Australia, most bigger libraries ... have free resources online for you to use and they can include grammar programs where you practise different grammar points and then it checks your answers for you."

Learn English Hacks is a Facebook Live series featuring Australian teachers where they discuss challenges learners face and how to overcome them. For more information, visit our Learn English Facebook page.