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English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

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3 Using connectives to link information

Another way to connect paragraphs and sentences is to use linking words or phrases. These linking words are also called connectives.

In the following paragraph, Fred uses four connectives:

The story is very different in poorly run residential homes. At Cedar Court Nursing Home, for example, residents’ rights to privacy and dignity are totally ignored by staff and residents are treated as objects of care (Peace, 2005, p. 75). As a result, the quality of life experienced by these residents appears to be very low. It is therefore clear that, in residential homes too, when carers fail to distinguish between private and public spaces and disregard residents’ wishes and needs, the quality of care suffers.

As you can see, in this example the connectives are used in the following ways:

for example: This connective helps the reader to understand that the situation explained in the second sentence is an example of the more general situation introduced in the topic sentence

as a result: this connective links the sentence describing the example to a sentence that describes its effect

therefore: this connective links the last sentence to the previous ones by introducing a consequence of the situation they describe

too: this connective links the situation referred to in the last sentence to situations described in previous sentences.

A range of connectives can be used in different ways to link the ideas contained in sentences and paragraphs. In the following sections you will look at connectives used to:

  • add information and ideas
  • add an example
  • compare and contrast ideas
  • express cause and effect relationships.