Linking words


'So' can be used in two ways:

1. To show RESULT.

Eg. It was raining, so we decided not to go to the beach.

NOTE! 'because' shows the REASON. The above sentence could be expressed like this:

Eg. We decided not to go to the beach because it was raining.


So & such used for EMPHASIS.

When used for emphasis, 'So' must be followed by either an adjective or an adverb and must be linked to an explanation CLAUSE.

Eg. It was so hot that we decided not to go to the beach.

OR We decided not to go to the beach because it was so hot.

NOTE! 'such' is used in the same way, but must be followed by a NOUN or ADJECTIVE+NOUN.

Eg. It was such a hot day that we decided not to go to the beach.

OR We decided not to go to the beach because it was such a hot day.

NOTE! When there is no explanation clause, use 'VERY', unless referring to a present situation.

Eg. It was very hot yesterday, wasn't it? It's so nice to see you again!
Enough and too


Eg. You won't pass the exam if you don't work hard enough.
OR He didn't get the job because he didn't have enough experience.

'enough' can also be used alone.

Eg. I'll lend you some money if you haven't got enough.

'too' means 'more than necessary' and comes BEFORE ADJECTIVES & ADVERBS ONLY.

Eg. The coffee was too hot to drink
But and However

'but' is used to CONTRAST clauses WITHIN A SENTENCE.

Eg. I like going to the beach, but I never go at midday.

'However,' has the same function, but is used to show CONTRAST BETWEEN SENTENCES.

Eg. I've always enjoyed going to the beach. However, I never go there at midday.
Although, though, even though & In spite of / despite

'Although' must join two clauses, but it's position can change. It can either start a sentence or come in the middle.

Eg. Although it rained a lot, we enjoyed the holiday.
OR We enjoyed the holiday although it rained a lot.

In spoken English 'though' can be used instead of 'although' when it is used for the second clause.

Eg. "I didn't get the job though I had all the necessary qualifications."

'though' can also come at the end of a sentence.

Eg. "The house isn't very nice. I like the garden though."

'Even though' is a stronger form of 'although'.

Eg. Even though I was really tired, I couldn't sleep.

'In spite of' or 'Despite' must be followed by a NOUN, PRONOUN (this, that, what etc.) or ~ING.

Eg. In spite of the rain, we went to the beach.
OR We went to the beach in spite of the rain.

It is common to use the expression 'In spite of the fact (that)....' or 'Despite the fact (that)....'
Eg. She's quite fit in spite of the fact that she smokes 40 cigarettes a day
Linking words of time - Still, yet and already

'Still' tells us that an action is continuing, or hasn't happened yet. It has positive, negative and question forms.

Eg. It's 10 o'clock and John's still in bed.
or She said that she would be here an hour ago and she still hasn't come.
or Are you still living in Botofogo?

'yet' asks if something has happened, or to say that something hasn't happened. It is mainly used in NEGATIVES & QUESTIONS and comes at the end of a sentence. 'Yet' is usually used with the present perfect tense.

Eg. He hasn't finished the report yet.
OR Is dinner ready yet?
'Already' is used to say that something happened before expected, it usually comes in middle position, but can also come in final position. 'Already' is not used in negatives and in British English is only used in questions to show considerable surprise.

Eg. I'll tell her that dinner is ready.

She already knows.

Have you finished already?! I thought it would take you longer!

In order to understand this type of linking word, you must be clear about the concepts of 'a point in time' and 'a period of time'. A point in time is the answer to a 'when' question, and a period of time is the answer to a 'how long' question.

Eg. Points of time = 6pm, Wednesday, she arrived, summer, 1999, Christmas, five minutes ago.
Periods of time = 3 seconds, 4 days, ages, 100 years, the Christmas holiday, five minutes.
During and while

Both 'during' and 'while' tell us WHEN something happened. The difference between them is that 'during' is followed by a noun phrase (no verb), and 'while' is followed by a clause (subject + verb + object).

Eg. When did you go to Barcelona?

I went there during my holiday in Europe.
I went there while I was on holiday in Europe.

'By' means 'at some time before' and tells us when something happens. It is followed by point in time and can be used for both past and future time.

Eg. This report must be finished by 6pm.

'By the time' has the same meaning but is followed by a clause. It is common with perfect tenses.

Eg. By the time we get there the party will have finished.

For, since and until

These words all tell us how long something happens. 'For' focuses on duration and can be used in most tenses. It is followed by a period of time.
'Since' is only used with perfect tenses and must be followed by a point in time.

Eg. They stayed in Barcelona for two weeks.

OR They've been in Barcelona since last Friday. = They are still in Barcelona now.

'Until' also tells us how long something happens, but the focus is on the end of the action or situation. It is followed by a point in time.

Eg. They stayed in Barcelona until last Friday. = They left Barcelona last Friday.