Conjunctions and transitions
Connecting words are very important so you can make more than just simple sentences in English. This is not only important for improving your spoken English, but it is also important to use these words and use them correctly when writing, especially if you are preparing to take an English test like IELTS or one of the Cambridge tests.
Look at the contrasting words in the sentences below and see how they are used differently.
- My teacher told me to do my homework, but I forgot to do it.
- I forgot to do my homework although my teacher told me to do it.
- I forgot to do my homework despite my teacher telling me to do it.
- My teacher told me to do my homework. However, I forgot to do it.
But is a coordinating conjunction. These words come in the middle of the sentence.
Yet is also a coordinating conjunction so it can also be used but it is more formal than but.
Although is a subordinating conjunction. These words can come in the middle of the sentence or at the beginning of the sentence. Even though is almost the same but it shows more emphasis on the contrast. Though is more informal and used in spoken English often.
Despite is a preposition and nouns or gerunds (verb +ing) always follow prepositions. In spite of is also a preposition and has the same meaning as despite but it is made up of three words.
However is a transition. These words join ideas and not clauses (parts of sentences). There are a few different ways to use them but the most common way is at the start of a sentence but they must refer to the idea in the sentence before. Nonetheless, yet and nevertheless are the same.
Let’s practise with the following prompts using the contrast words we have learnt.
I passed the exam. It was quite challenging.
➡️ The exam was quite challenging, yet I passed it.
➡️Even though the exam was quite challenging, I passed it.
➡️In spite of the exam being quite challenging, I passed it.
➡️The exam was was quite challenging. Nevertheless, I passed it.
Now, it is time for you to try!
Practise using the connecting words using the following prompts:
I don’t like learning grammar. Learning grammar will help me to improve my English.
This summary of connecting words is very brief so if you would like more information or you want to check your answers to the last exercise, please got to my contact page and get in touch. 😊