Writing and Speaking cohesively for TOEFL or IELTS
By Mehdi Moodi
Both the TOEFL and the IELTS include writing an essay. One of the important features of an essay which is carefully assessed by the examiners is cohesion. Cohesion is also very important in the speaking section. This means different parts of your essay or speech must be connected or related in a reasonable way to form a whole. Longman Preparation course for the TOEFL ibt Test suggests three cohesive techniques on page 499 in Appendix A. These techniques are: • Repeated and rephrased key ideas • Use pronouns and determiners • Use transition expressions Here I am going to compile a comprehensive list of useful transition expressions along with their usages and examples. I am going to organize them in groups for easy study. 1. when you want to express a contrast but Use this to join two words or phrases when the second one has the opposite meaning to the first one, or when the second one is surprising after the first one, or when one is negative and one is positive • • • • • • • I called but there was no one there. He's short and not really handsome, but women still find him attractive. They struggled in the first half, but still won 98-82. She tried to read the message, but couldn't. Tom's grandfather is over 80, but he still plays golf. "Gone with the Wind' was a great movie, but it was a little long. In the US it is normal for the police to carry guns, but not in Britain.
however/nevertheless/nonetheless (formal) Use this when saying something that is surprising after what you have just said, or that is very different from it • It was a terrible accident. Nevertheless, air travel is still the safest form of transport. • December saw a more than average rainfall; however, the possibility of a drought is still strong. • War is never welcome; nonetheless, I believe that we must defend our country. but nevertheless/nonetheless • The leaves aren't particularly dangerous, but nevertheless they are not something you'd want your child or pet to eat.
on the other hand Use this at the beginning of a sentence when you have just mentioned one side of an argument or situation and you are going to mention the opposite side • Nuclear power is relatively cheap. On the other hand, you could argue that it's not safe. • The hamburger was tough and overcooked. The fries, on the other hand, were terrific, and well worth the money. but on the other hand • You want to help your kids as much as you can, but on the other hand, you've got to be careful to help them learn on their own. yet (formal) Use this to introduce a fact that seems surprising after what you have just said • The sun was shining, yet it was quite cold. • Last summer there was a drought, yet some people were still watering their lawns every day. whereas/while (written) Use this to say that although something is true of one person, thing, or situation, it is not true of another • • Some house plants thrive if placed near a window with plenty of sunlight while others prefer to be in a more shaded spot. American cars are generally too large for the Japanese market, whereas Japanese cars are popular in the US.
though/although Use this to introduce a fact or opinion that makes what you have just said less strong or definite • • • Dan's been very ill, although he's better now. I don't really like classical music, though I did enjoy that Pavarotti concert. They're a very nice couple, although I very seldom see them these days.
though Use this at the end of a sentence to add a fact or opinion that makes what you have just said seem less important , or to add a different fact or opinion • • I think she's Swiss. I'm not sure, though. George did say one nice thing, though.
even so Use this to say that something is true in spite of the fact that you have just mentioned • • Try to run on a soft surface, such as grass. Even so, you may start having knee problems. I had a terrible headache, but even so I went to the concert.
An immediate interest cut might give a small boost to the economy. Even so, any recovery is likely to be very slow.
but even so • • She had only seen Matthew Godden once before, but even so she recognized him instantly. The fines for speeding are large, but even so, they are not always a deterrent.
on the contrary Use this to show that you think or feel the opposite of what has just been stated • Secular education did no harm to our society; on the contrary, it liberated us. • Economy is not getting better; on the contrary it is getting worse all the time. 2. when a particular fact does not prevent something from happening in spite of/despite even though something happens or is true, especially something bad • • • • • In spite of everything, I still enjoyed the trip. He wore a black leather jacket, despite the heat. The stock price has remained strong, in spite of the problems the company is having. In spite of the language difficulty, we soon became friends. Despite my misgivings, I took the job.
in spite of the fact that/despite the fact that Many poor people give quite a bit of money to charities, despite the fact that they do not have that much themselves. after all Use this to say something is true in spite of earlier problems or doubts • Union leaders announced that they would, after all, take part in the national conference. The rain has stopped, so the game will go ahead after all. although/tough Use this to introduce a statement that makes your main statement seem surprising or unlikely • • • • Although I missed my train, I still arrived at work on time. Although we are a small company, we produce over 10,000 cars a year. She walked home by herself, although she knew that it was dangerous. He decided to go, although I begged him not to.
even though (=use this when you want to emphasize what you are saying)
She always buys us expensive presents, even though she can't really afford them. 3. when it is surprising that two different things are both true
although/tough • • • • I really need some time alone, although I know I'll miss the kids while I'm gone. He won several medals, though he was only 15 years old. You've been here before, though you might not remember because you were pretty little. Although Milan is an industrial city, it still has enormous charm.
while/whilst Use this to introduce a statement that makes your main statement seem surprising or says something different from it • • • While I like Carter’s personally, I don't think what he's doing is right. Whilst a Rolls Royce is a very nice car, it is extremely expensive to maintain. While six percent of ordinary homes were damaged in the earthquake, only three percent of mobile homes were damaged. 4. when you want to add something to what you have just said what’s more (spoken) use this to add something, especially something that gives more force to what you have just said • What's more this stuff is cheap to manufacture so we should make a big profit.
and what's more • The prisoner has a gun, and what's more he's prepared to use it. furthermore/moreover (formal) Use this especially to introduce more information that will help persuade people to agree with what you are saying • • This new equipment will be very expensive to set up. Furthermore, more machines will mean fewer jobs. The drug has powerful side effects. Moreover, it can be addictive.
In addition (to) Use this to add another piece of information to what you have just said • The company provides cheap Internet access. In addition, it makes shareware freely available. • In addition to their normal teaching duties, teachers these days have stacks of
paperwork to do. Our survey will produce the essential statistics. In addition, it will provide information about people's shopping habits.
actually/as a matter of fact/in fact (usually spoken) Use this when you want to add something surprising or interesting to what you are saying • • • • Robert's an old friend of mine. We were at school together, actually. The company is doing very well. As a matter of fact, we've doubled our sales budget. Of course I know your mother. We go to the same church, in fact. The performance was excellent. In fact, it was probably the best I've seen.
also Use this when you are adding another fact about someone or something, or when mentioning another person or thing • • • François speaks perfect English. He also speaks German and Italian. Sugar is bad for your teeth. It can also contribute to heart disease. Chris came from England. Martin also.
not only .... but also • Meissner was not only commander of the army but also a close friend of the President. too Use this when you are adding another fact about someone or something. Too is usually used at the end of a sentence • • Gary and Martha and the kids are coming to visit. They're bringing grandmother, too. It's fast and comfortable. It's economical, too.
besides in addition to what you are mentioning • • • • Besides being my doctor, he's a really good friend of mine. Martina's got other things to think about besides work. She's bought a fridge, a freezer, a microwave, and lots of other things besides. Besides going to aerobics twice a week, she rides horses on Saturdays.
second/secondly used when you want to give a second point or fact, or give a second reason for something • Firstly, they are not efficient, and secondly, they are expensive to make.
finally/lastly Use lastly or finally to introduce the last point you want to make, the last action in a series of actions, or the last item in a list • Lastly, I would like to remind you that smoking is not allowed. • Load the paper, select the number of copies, and lastly press 'Print'. • You add flour, salt, and finally milk. 5. when you want to say what the result of something is so Use this to say that someone does something or something happens as a result of something else • • • There was nothing on TV, so I decided to go to bed. The rest of the week I'm busy, I'm afraid, so it'll have to be Monday. The shop doesn't open until 11am and so it loses a lot of business.
therefore/thus/hence so - use this in formal speech and writing • • • • • The building work is taking quite a long time, and therefore costing us money. Jewish weddings are both religious and civil. Therefore two official applications for marriage are necessary. Most of the evidence was destroyed in the fire. Thus it would be almost impossible to prove him guilty. The houses were used for soldiers. Thus, the structures survived the Civil War. The cost of transport is a major expense for an industry. Hence factory location is an important consideration.
So big/easy/busy etc. that Use this to say that because someone or something is very big, tall etc, something happens as a result • • I was so busy today that I didn't have time for lunch. He always thought he was so good looking that no woman would turn him down.
Such a bad day/an old car/a tall man etc. that Use this to say that because it is a very bad day, a very old car etc something happens or someone does something as a result • • • It was such a nice day that we decided to go for a picnic. The dress was such a bargain, I had to buy it. Paul remained silent for such a long time that we were beginning to wonder if he'd fallen asleep.
so that/with the result that Use this to say that because of a particular situation, another situation exists or happens. With the result that is more formal than so that • • • His hair was very long and covered his eyes, so that you could hardly see his face. A car pulled out right in front of me, so that I had to slam on the brakes. The company paid excellent salaries and provided good working conditions, with the result that its employees were of a very high standard.
as a result/consequently Use this to say that because of a particular situation, something else happens or is true. Consequently is more formal than as a result • • I had made a lot of contacts, and had good job opportunities as a result. The virus attacks the plant, the flower does not open, and consequently no seeds are produced. 6. when you give an example for example/for instance Use this when you are giving an example • • There are lots of famous buildings in Kyoto, for example the Golden Pavilion and the Tyoanyi Temple. There are some tasks which are your responsibility. For instance, it's up to you to dismantle furniture and take down curtains.
e.g. (written) Use this when you are giving an example or a series of examples. In British English, people usually write eg; in American English people usually write e.g. • • Make sure you eat foods that contain protein, e.g. meat, cheese, fish, milk, or eggs. This course includes a study of basic language skills (eg speaking and listening).
such as (usually written) Used when you want to give one or two typical examples of something but not all the examples that are possible • It is difficult to get even basic foods such as sugar and bread. • People's ability to do the tests is influenced by factors such as age, sex, and ethnic background. like (usually spoken) Used in spoken English when you are giving a example which is typical of what you mean
We could cook something easy, like pasta. We still haven't settled a number of problems, like who is going to be in charge here while I'm away.
to name but a few If you say to name but a few after giving several examples of something, you mean that these are just a few examples of what you mean and there are many more • So many industries have been hit in the recession. Steel, coal, construction, to name but a few. 7. when the real situation is different from what people think actually (spoken) Used to tell or ask someone what the real situation is, when they think it is something different • • Did he actually hit you or just threaten you? It turns out that one of the children I thought was a girl was actually a boy.
in fact Used to tell someone what the real situation is, when they think it is something different. Actually is more informal and is used more in conversation than in fact. Actually is also used more in questions than in fact. Actually is often used at the beginning of a sentence that answers a question, but in fact is not. • • He said it would be cheap but in fact it cost over £200. No, I'm not offended at all. In fact, I'm glad you asked the question.
in actual fact/in point of fact • • They seem to think that building a new road will improve the traffic problem, whereas in point of fact it will make it worse. There are almost 200,000 possible combinations of symbols. In actual fact, only a small number of these are used.
really (spoken) Used to say what the truth is, especially because something about the situation may make people believe something that is wrong • • • He failed his tests, but he's quite a bright guy, really. Are you sure she's really a lawyer? She doesn't act like one. They're asking £600,000 for the house. That's more than it's really worth.
in reality/the reality is Used to introduce the second part of a statement when you want to show that the first part is not true or exact
• • •
It seems like just yesterday, but in reality it was five years ago. Nowadays owning a car may appear to be a necessity, but in reality it isn't. They say that the economy is already coming out of the recession, but the reality is that there has been no improvement at all.
the reality of the situation is • The reality of the situation is that by sending drug users to jail, the government may be discouraging people from seeking treatment.
the truth/fact is Used to show what the real truth or fact is in a situation, when this is surprising or different from what people believed was true • • • The truth was that she did not enjoy getting together with the rest of her family. The fact is he was murdered. He didn't commit suicide at all. I may make it all look easy, but the truth is I work very hard.
in practice Used to show the difference between what is supposed to happen according to a rule or law, and what does happen • • Teenagers are not allowed to drink in bars, but in practice they often do. Economic predictions are highly theoretical. It's what they mean in practice that is important.
in theory ... in practice • The law seemed like a good idea in theory, but in practice it has proved far too expensive. 8. when you are giving the reason for something because Use this when you are explaining the reason why something happens or why you do something • • • She's in a bad mood because her father won't let her go to the party tonight. "This photograph doesn't look like you." "That's because it isn't me - it's my sister". Because you've done such a good job, I'm giving everyone a 10% bonus.
just because (=Used when you think an explanation is not a good enough reason for something) • You mean you dumped him just because he forgot your birthday?
simply because (=Used when there is a very simple reason for something) • We're not going on holiday this year, simply because we can't afford it.
because of something • • I had to move because of my job. Because of the increase in street crime, many old people are afraid to leave their homes.
since/as Use this to give the reason why someone decides to do something • • • We had planned to play tennis but since it was raining we decided to go swimming instead. Since you're going to be in the area anyway, you can pick up the order for me. As he wasn't well, I offered to do the shopping.
due to/owing to (formal) Used especially in official statements to explain what causes a particular problem • • • Our flight was delayed due to poor weather conditions. Owing to circumstances beyond our control, we regret to inform customers that this store will close early. In the end I was unable to attend the conference, owing to financial difficulties.
be due to • The accident was due to a concrete block thrown from a bridge. thanks to Use this to explain that something has been possible because of someone's actions or because something is very good, very effective etc • • Today thanks to the Internet, you can do all your Christmas shopping from home. The play was a great success thanks to the effort and commitment of everyone involved.
USAGE: Thanks to is also used when you want to criticize or complain about someone, when you are annoyed with them because they have caused something bad to happen. Thanks to somebody's carelessness/stupidity etc / Thanks to you • Thanks to your carelessness, the documents have been lost. • Thanks to you the whole thing was a complete disaster. as a result of Use this when you are explaining what made something happen, especially something unpleasant
Many people are now homeless as a result of the civil war.
as a direct result of • Mr. Logan died as a direct result of the injuries he received in the accident. the reason (why) … is Use this when you are explaining something carefully, especially when you have been asked to explain why something happened • • The reason we didn't consider her for the job was that she didn't have enough experience. The reason we are here this evening is to say thank you to Brian for all his hard work.
through Use this when you are explaining why someone or something has succeeded or failed • • • We succeeded through sheer hard work. Hundreds of working days have been lost this year through illness. The Community Association collapsed through lack of support.
out of Use this when someone does something because of a particular feeling out of interest/curiosity/desperation etc • • She opened the letter, just out of curiosity. I came to you out of desperation - you've got to help me.
on account of Use this when you want to give the reason why something is necessary, impossible, or true • • We had to move to London on account of my job. They're called the Black Hills on account of their color.
besides Use this especially when you are giving another reason for something • • I don't mind picking up your things from the store. Besides, the walk will do me good. Sonya says she couldn't get here through all the snow. Besides, her car's broken down.
9. when something is the first thing you want to say firstly/first (usually spoken) Say this to introduce the first fact, reason, or question, when you are going to mention several more things • • • I wanted to change schools, firstly because I didn't like the teacher and secondly because it was too far away. First, may I say that I am extremely grateful for the trust my colleagues have put in me. African leaders are worried, firstly about the official flow of aid, and also about levels of private investment.
first of all (usually spoken) Say this when the reason you are giving first is the most important one • • Freddy, first of all, I didn't flirt with him. He flirted with me. I called the book "Drum Planet" because first of all, there are drums in every culture.
to start/begin with (usually spoken) Say this when your reason or fact is the most easy to see or understand • • To start with, one of the biggest problems in the classroom is that the kids don't get enough discipline at home. Working at home is a good option, because, to begin with, what's the point of driving two hours a day just to sit in front of a computer?
in the first place/for start (usually spoken) Say this when you are arguing or discussing something with someone and you are going to give the main reason that proves that what you are saying is true • • • In the first place, they have a more experienced team, so they're more likely to win. We haven't made a decision, because, in the first place, we do not know enough at this point. For a start, someone's sex should not matter in a job interview.
before I start (spoken) Say this when you are going to say something before you start the main part of a speech or talk to a group of people • • Before I start, I'd like to thank everyone for coming. All right, before I start, could everyone please stand up and introduce themselves.
10. when you want to clarify what you have said in other words used when you are expressing an idea or opinion again in a different and usually simpler way: • The tax only affects people on incomes of over $200,000 - in other words, the very rich. • So he is a fraud, a common thief in other words. i. e. written before a word or phrase that gives the exact meaning of something you have just written or said • The film is only open to adults, i.e. people over 18. namely used when saying the names of the people or things you are referring to: • Three students were mentioned, namely John, Sarah and Sylvia. that is to say used before giving more details or being more exact about something: • They, that's to say Matt and John, were arguing about what to do. 11. when you are going to summarize something or bring it to an end with a conclusion to sum up/to summarize/in summary use this at the beginning of a sentence when you are going to summarize what has been said, especially at the end of a speech • • • To sum up, the jury found the wrong person guilty. To summarize, Bremer is saying "you just have to trust me." In summary, don't waste your money on this book.
In a nutshell use this when you are summarizing a situation or idea in a few words • • In a nutshell, the state government is expected to be $2 million in debt by the end of the year. A study of women at work says, in a nutshell, that opportunities have opened up dramatically.
put it in a nutshell • Bob put it in a nutshell when he said the problems was essentially a lack of communication. in short use this to say the most important point about a situation in a few words
In short, the report says that more money should be spent on education. In short, the better a parent you are during the first 18 years, the better friends you'll be later.
in conclusion/ finally/to conclude used in a piece of writing or a speech to show that you are about to finish what you are saying • In conclusion, I would like to say how much I have enjoyed myself today. 12. when something is definitely true certainly/definitely Use this to emphasize that something is definitely true. Definitely is more common in spoken English than certainly • • • • Incredible as they seem, these events certainly took place. We don't know exactly when the house was built, but it's certainly over 200 years old. I definitely posted the check last week, so it should have arrived by now. "I think it would be a great opportunity." "Yeah, definitely."
definitely/certainly not • "She's not thinking of going back out with Simon again?" "No, definitely not." undoubtedly/unquestionably/without doubt/without a doubt Use this to say that, in your opinion, something is definitely true about someone or something • • • The years my parents spent in Kenya were undoubtedly the happiest of their lives. Japan has unquestionably one of the most successful economies in the world. Without a doubt, taxation is going to be the key issue in the President's campaign.
there's no doubt/there's no question use this to say that, in your opinion, something definitely is true about someone or something there's no doubt/there's no question that • • • There's no doubt that he completely dominates her. There is no question that Maridan had known all about the deal. There was no doubt that, without the peacekeeping force, the civil war would have continued.
there's no doubt/there's no question about it/about that • You can see they're short of staff -- there's no doubt about it.
"We made some mistakes. No question about that," Glavine said.
beyond a shadow of a doubt/without doubt Use this to say that, in your opinion, there is definitely no doubt at all that something is true • The evidence proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this man was in the victim's apartment on the day of the murder. • Jo is without doubt one of the finest swimmers in the school. surely (spoken) say this when you want to emphasize that something must be true and you want the person you are talking to to agree with you • • • Surely he must have realized that the money was stolen. "I'm not sure how the heating system works." "Surely it can't be that complicated." Your car must be worth more than $500, surely! 13. when you want to express similarity similarly/likewise/in the same way/in similar fashion • Nanny put on a shawl and told the girls to do likewise. • The cost of food and clothing has come down in recent years. Similarly, fuel prices have fallen quite considerably. 14. when something is happening during the time that something else happens while During the same period of time that something is happening • • I bought a magazine while I was waiting for the train. I'll just make a phone call while you finish the dishes.
meanwhile while something else is happening • • They're still working on our bedroom. Meanwhile, we're sleeping out back in tents. People keep complaining about the service at hospitals, and meanwhile more and more nurses are losing their jobs.
in the meantime During the period of time between now and a future event or between two events in the past • We'll meet again on April 21st, and in the meantime I'll collect some more information for you.
I came back to work after just a month, but in the meantime, all my things had been moved to a smaller office. 15. when something happened immediately after the other
immediately immediately after something has happened or immediately after you have done something • • • We met at a friend's party, and immediately became friends. There was a loud explosion in the engine-room, and almost immediately a fire broke out. I'll call you immediately we hear any news about the baby.
immediately after/afterwards • • We'll have to leave immediately after the meeting. Mrs. Smith was admitted to hospital at 10 o'clock, but died immediately afterwards.
as soon as/the moment (that) immediately after something has happened or immediately after you have done something • • • As soon as Stephen felt well again, he returned to work. I will pay you back, I promise, the moment I get paid. Honey, I swear, I'll phone you the moment I get to New York.
no sooner...than immediately after something has happened or someone has done something - use this especially in stories or in descriptions of events no sooner had...than • • No sooner had they sat down to eat than the phone rang. No sooner had he arrived in the city than his wallet was stolen.
no sooner was/were...than • No sooner were the words out of her mouth than she regretted them. once from the time when something happens • Once I get him a job, he'll be fine. • Once in bed, the children usually stay there.
16. when you want to talk about two people or things both use this to talk about two people or things together • • • Paul and I are both scared of spiders. I can't decide which dress to buy. I like them both. Both drivers were injured, but not seriously.
both the/these/my etc • • Both the robbers were wearing masks. Both their parents are doctors.
both of • • Both of us felt a little sick after dinner. Both of the windows had been broken.
the two of them/us/you (spoken) both the people that you are talking about • • • While the two of them talked about cars, I went into the kitchen to make coffee. We're taking a romantic vacation - just the two of us. I want the money to be shared equally between the two of you.
each Use this to talk about two people or things when you think of them as separate • My wife and I each have our own bank account.
each of • Each of the teams has already won two games. each other/one another Use this to say that each of two people does the same thing to the other, or has the same feeling about the other • My boyfriend and I don't talk to each other very much anymore. • The twins looked at one another and giggled. each other's/one another's • Ron and Joe didn't like each other's girlfriends. either Use this to talk about one of two people, places, or things, especially when it does not matter which one • "Would you like tea or coffee?" "Either - I don't mind." • You can operate the controls with either hand.
either of If you see either of these men, contact the police immediately. • She says she never met either of them before.
either somebody/something or somebody/something
• I usually drink either coke or beer with pizza.
neither not one or the other of two people, places, or things etc • • "Do you want milk or lemon in your tea?" "Neither thanks." The game wasn't very exciting, and neither team played well.
neither of • Luckily, neither of the passengers was hurt in the crash.
neither somebody/something nor somebody/something
• • • •
Neither her mother nor her father knew about her boyfriend. The company's chairman described the criticisms as "neither accurate nor fair". Neither France nor Britain will be represented at the conference. She neither accepted nor rejected his offer immediately.
mutual mutual feelings/friends/interest etc. are ones that both people have at the same time • • The couple was introduced to each other by a mutual friend. An investment in my company would be to our mutual benefit. • They would meet every week to discuss matters of mutual interest.
share to both have the same opinion, attitude, interest etc • They share an interest in 16th century architecture. • My husband and my mother share the same birthday.