A little secret of coherency

There is no doubt that academic writing requires being as clear and concise as possible, using just the right words to convey your arguments.

Trying to impress the examiner with their essays, students often come up with a long series of words which are hard to understand. They have a certain idea of what academic writing should be (wordy and intricate). But is there a simple solution to that?

Be careful not to fall into a trap of imagining that the longer the paragraph is, the more impressive and intelligent your writing gets. Instead of adding convoluted structures, make your paper appear smarter and avoid detracting from your ideas.

bruce-almighty

For instance, consider learning different linking and transition words. They will definitely help you to signpost your arguments, logically organise your whole text and show the examiner what to expect from certain paragraphs or sentences.

Sequencing

First and foremost,

As a starting point,

Above all,

Along the way,

After that,

Besides,

Furthermore,

Last but not least,

Finally,

Evidently,

All things considered,

On the whole,

Giving examples

For instance,

In particular,

Inter alia,

In detail,

Namely,

For the sake of argument,

Primarily,

Describing similarities

Likewise,

Correspondingly,

Equally,

Not only… but also

Climate change impacts not only land but also water.

In the same way,

Similarly,

Showing cause and effect

Consequently,

As a result,

Thus,

Hence, (never ‘hence why’)

Hence, the situation is complex.

…,since (try to avoid ‘as’ when showing cause and effect)

I took delivery for it since you were out.

…because

Therefore,

Accordingly,

This suggests that…

It follows that…

For this reason,

Comparing and contrasting

Alternatively,

However,

Conversely,

Notwithstanding,

On the other hand,

On the contrary,

Instead,

Whereas

I spent no time with her whereas my brother never left her side.

Showing limitation or contradiction

Despite/in spite of

Despite that reality, we have persevered.
In spite of such very significant progress, many challenges remain.

While (not whilst!)

Even so,

Nevertheless,

Nonetheless,

Although

Although he is an exemplary student, he will…

Admittedly,

And so on.

Many students repeat the same words over and over again. That is how our brain is built. We get new information and try to share it more often. The point is that sometimes we go too far.

Look up synonyms and never use the same transition word more than once in a single piece (especially in the same paragraph).

Bear in mind that there are some special rules for punctuation while using transition words. You’ll need a comma after most of them.

Also, a semicolon or a period is used after the first ‘sentence’, and a comma is almost always used to set off the transition word from the second ‘sentence’.

People use 43 muscles when they frown; however, they use only 28 muscles when they smile.

Make sure you’ve acquired all the necessary knowledge on how to use connective words and feel free to implement your skill while getting through the writing section of FCE, CAE, IELTS, etc.

Kate