Here is a list of linking words for your IELTS speaking with tips and models. For speaking you need some simple linking words and natural phrases to help the examiner follow your ideas and stories. These linking words and signposts are simple and informal on the whole. IELTS writing is different and requires the use of a wide range of linkers.
Adding more information
- as well as
- another reason is
You should use signposts to help the listening understand when you are talking about the past or the present.
- at the moment
- at present
- right now
- these days
- in the past
- at that time
- years ago
- when I was younger
- I think one important thing is
- I guess one difference is
- I suppose the main difference between X and Y is
Causes and Solutions
- I guess it’s because
- The main reason is
- It was caused by
- I suppose the best way to deal with this problem is
- I reckon the only answer is to
- The best way to solve this is
These connective devices are for giving examples in your answers. The most common and natural to use is “like”. Please note that “like” can’t be used as a linking device in IELTS writing.
- for example
- for instance
- such as
You use these simple, natural expression to explain your point again more clearly or get your answer back on track.
- What I mean is
- What I want to say is
- As I was saying
Contrasting and concessions
Use these connecting words to compare and contrast or give concessions.
- on the other hand
Free PDF Download: Linking words for IELTS Speaking
Examples of Linking Words in Speaking
Look at the following questions and answers. See what linking words are contained in the answers.
Q. Do you eat much fruit?
A. Yes, I do. I love tropical fruit like mangoes and pineapples.
Comments: We would not use “for example” in this type of sentence which relates to our everyday life.
Q. Do you think fast food is bad?
A. Yes, I do. If it is eaten too often, it can cause problems such as heart disease or diabetes. Also, it can lead to weight problems which are really common nowadays.
Comments: You could use “such as” or “for example” in this sentence because the content is more serious. Please note that we don’t use “furthermore” or “in addition” for speaking, instead we use “also” or “and”.
Q. Do children play similar games today that they played in the past?
A. No, I don’t think they do. Before, children used to play simple games like hide and seek or they used to play with simple handmade toys. But, these days, kids tend to prefer computer games and their toys are battery operated.
Comments: This answer contained time phrases for the past and present “before” and “these days”. It also had an example “like”. “Like” is the main example linking word for speaking and can be repeated again and again. This answer also uses a contrasting linking word “but”. “But” is the main contrasting linking word in speaking and can be repeated many times.
Mistakes with Linking Words in Speaking
The example below will help you understand how not to answer a question with linking words.
Q. Do you like going out with friends?
A. Yes, I do. Firstly, it gives me a chance to relax. Secondly, I can catch up on their news. Last but not least, it allows me the opportunity to visit new places.
Comments: The method of linking is too formal. It is inappropriate and is not a good for a high score.
See below what the answer should be:
A. Yes, I do. It’s great being able to chill out and catch up with their news. Also we often go out to new places which I really enjoy.
Comments: This answer was more natural and would be marked higher in IELTS speaking. The linking words are used appropriately (and / also).
Tips for Linking Devices in IELTS Speaking
- Don’t use formal linking words for simple questions about yourself and your life.
- Don’t worry about repeating linking words. This is different to IELTS writing.
- The most common linking words for speaking are: and, but, because, also, like (for giving examples)
- “Like” is only used as a linking word to give examples in speaking NOT in writing.
- You do not get a higher score because used a range of linking devices.
- Linking words in speaking are just to help the listener understand better.
- Linking words are used naturally not formally in IELTS speaking.
- Linking words are part of the criterion of “Fluency and Coherence” which is 25% of your marks.
Linking Devices for IELTS Writing
The following link will provide you with a list of Essential Linking Words for Writing Task 2. For IELTS writing, you MUST use a range of formal linking words in your essay to get a high score. This is applicable to both GT and academic students.
IELTS Speaking Questions
IELTS speaking common questions and topics to practice for your test.
IELTS Speaking Model Answers and Tips:
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