Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

August 25, 2009

Linkers – using these to best effect.

In writing and formal speaking linking words can create a great impact. It is, however, not always easy to know which ones will be correct, most appropriate or give the best impression.

Have a look at these sentences – can you spot the problems?

  1. At first we found skiing difficult but at the end we became quite good.
  2. Joe caught an early train, because he could get to work early. 
  3. Despite he was a great actor, he didn’t appear in many films.
  4. At first you mix the sugar and butter, then add the eggs and finally the flour.
  5. Even I see your point of view, I cannot agree with it.
  6. Beside your family and mine who else should we invite?
  7. Although we have spoken about this many times, but you still won’t accept my decision.
  8. Because of people spend too much time using computers, they can become overweight.
  9. I am going to cover four main areas of grammar in this section, like tenses, adverbs, gerunds and prepositions.
  10. Our sales figures for 2009 are somewhat disappointing, moreover they are better than last year.

 These are some of the problems I often come across. The answers!

  • At first we found skiing difficult but at the end we became quite good.

              At first (the beginning of the process) …..in the end we became quite good.

  • Joe caught an early train, because he could get to work early. 

            so that he could get to work early.

  • Despite he was a great actor, he didn’t appear in many films.

             Despite the fact that he was a great actor…. (Despite being a great actor…)

  • At first you mix the sugar and butter, then add the eggs and finally the flour.

              First you mix the sugar and butter ………

  • Even I see your point of view, I cannot agree with it.

             Even though I see your point

  • Beside your family and mine who else should we invite?

              Besides your family ….

  • Although we have spoken about this many times, but you still won’t accept my decision.

             Although …………………………., you still  …

  • Because of people spend too much time using computers, they can become overweight.

             Because people spend…..

  • I am going to cover four main areas of grammar in this section, like tenses, adverbs, gerunds and prepositions.

             ……………………………………… namely tenses, adverbs ……………

  • Our sales figures for 2009 are somewhat disappointing, moreover they are better than last year.

               Our sales figures ……………………………., nevertheless they are …..

The ‘rules’.

There are basically 3 types of linking word that we use in English:

  • Conjunctionsbut, while, although, though, even though, even if etc..
  • Prepositions – despite, in spite of, though, etc..
  • Adverbs – however, nevertheless, still, moreover, besides, though etc..

Remembering the part of speech might help you to assess whether you have made the right choice. The linking words have a greater function than simply linking ideas – they also dictate the relationship between the ideas. These relationships can be, for example, contrast, concession, cause/effect, addition, temporal relationships.

Some examples:

If we use the linking words from the above sentences as examples we can see how they should be used and why they are used wrongly here.

  • At first – the beginning of a process – goes with in the end and shows a time-related relationship – the beginning and end of a process
  • First – the first point, item or step – goes with finally – another time-related relationship
  • At the end – denotes the point at which something finishes
  • Because –  explains the reason for an action because of – expresses a consequence
  • So that – explains the outcome of an action
  • Despite expresses contrast and must be used with -ing, a noun, or the phrase ‘Despite the fact that..
  • Even if/though- also expresses contrast and is not used by itself
  • Besides –  don’t confuse this with beside (preposition) it expresses additional information
  • Namely – is specific and mentions all items on a list (compare with such as, or like, which give examples)
  • Moreover/furthermore – add information, nevertheless/nonetheless show a contrast

This is a quick romp through some of the linking words that can be used to add style to your language. It is an area that requires some study but in the long run it will be worth the effort especially if you want to make an impression!

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2 Comments »

  1. […] linking words (in spite of, moreover, nevertheless etc.. See my post on Linking words) […]

    Pingback by 7 great virtues to help you write well in English « Rliberni’s Blog — October 27, 2009 @ 4:19 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks for this piece. You write that “Remembering the part of speech might help you to assess whether you have made the right choice.” It would be good if you can explain this in more detail.
    It is unclear to me (in my stupidity) how knowing that “nevertheless” is an adverb (or “in spite of” a preposition etc.) will help me to use it correctly.

    Comment by Graham — November 24, 2011 @ 7:36 pm | Reply


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