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Useful Linking Words
Useful Linking Words

Useful Linking Words for Writing Essays

 

 

ADDITION

 

  • In addition
  • And
  • Similarly
  • Likewise
  • As well as
  • Besides
  • Another
  • Furthermore
  • Also
  • Moreover
  • And then
  • Too
  • Not only … but also
  • Even
  • Besides this
  • In the same way

 

 

Oxford Test It Fix It English Grammar

 

Test It Fix It 

 

SEQUENCE

 

  • Firstly
  • Initially
  • In the first stage
  • One reason
  • To begin with
  • Secondly
  • Another reason
  • Another advantage
  • Then
  • Earlier
  • Later
  • After this
  • At this point
  • Following this
  • A further reason
  • In the final stage
  • The final reason

 

CONSEQUENCE

 

  • As a result
  • Thus
  • So
  • Therefore
  • Consequently
  • It follows that
  • Thereby
  • Eventually
  • Then
  • In that case
  • Admittedly

 

CONTRAST

 

  • However
  • On the other hand
  • Despite
  • In spite of
  • Though
  • Although
  • But
  • On the contrary
  • Otherwise
  • Yet
  • Instead of
  • Rather
  • Whereas
  • Nonetheless
  • Even though
  • In contrast
  • Alternatively

 

CERTAINLY

 

  • Obviously
  • Certainly
  • Plainly
  • Of course
  • Undoubtedly

 

REASON

 

  • Since
  • As
  • So
  • Because
  • Due to
  • Owing to
  • The reason why
  • In other words
  • Leads to
  • To
  • Cause of
  • In order to
  • Causes

 

CONDITION

 

  • If
  • Unless
  • Whether
  • Provided that
  • Depending on

 

SUMMARY

 

  • In conclusion
  • In summary
  • Lastly
  • Finally
  • To sum up
  • To conclude
  • To recapitulate
  • In short

 

LINKING WORDS & PHRASES | INFOGRAPHIC

 

Linking Words

Great Essay Writing Tips for Students 

 

Tip #1: Don’t Start Writing Without a Plan

I know it can be tempting to just dive into an essay, especially if you’re short on time. With anything you write, though, you’ll find it much easier if you plan ahead – and I think this is especially true for essays, which generally need a strong structure that supports you in making a particular argument.

 

Depending on the length of your essay and how much you like to plan ahead, your plan might be a short list of bullet points and some ideas about key sources to reference – or it might be a detailed paragraph by paragraph outline. But you should definitely have some sort of plan in mind, or you risk going off on a huge tangent that doesn’t really relate to your essay question.

 

Tip #2: Don’t Leave Your Writing Until the Last Minute

 

Okay, I know it’s sometimes unavoidable – but very few people do their best work while staying up all night frantically trying to finish an essay that’s due imminently (or worse, overdue). It’s much better for your writing – and your health – to work consistently on an essay well ahead of the deadline.

 

One great way to do this is to break down your essay writing process into different stages (which will probably correspond to these stages of the writing process). For instance, if you have a short essay due Friday, you might come up with ideas and useful references for your essay question on a Monday, write a detailed plan on a Tuesday, and start drafting on a Wednesday … instead of leaving everything to the end of the week.

 

Tip #3: Know Your Best Time of Day to Write

 

All of us have times of day when we find it easy to focus – and times when we really struggle. I’ve known since my schooldays that I’m a morning person: I’m at my best between about 7am and 12 noon, and my focus dips dramatically around 4pm.

 

You might be totally different – perhaps you can concentrate really well between, say, 7pm and midnight – but what matters here is knowing yourself. Figure out your best hours for writing and try to use them where possible.

 

Tip #4: Ask for Sample Essays or Projects to Look At

 

Whatever you’re studying, if you have to produce essays or projects that are assessed, there will almost certainly be (a) a mark scheme and (b) examples of previous students’ work. Ask your professors about these. Take a really close look at past work, and at the mark it got: see if you can figure out why – and what you could do to improve your own work.

 

If you’ve got connections to students who’ve taken your course in the past, you might also ask them if they’d be willing to share any of their old essays. (Be really careful here that you don’t end up accidentally using any of their ideas or phrasings as your own – that’s plagiarism and it’s a serious academic offence. So if you take notes based on their essays, label those very clearly so you don’t later think that they’re part of your own work.)

 

Tip #5: Know How to Present Your Work Correctly

 

The rules about formatting essays – particularly things like footnotes and bibliographies – can seem rather arcane and confusing. But it’s important to get these little details right. If you’re unsure, again, ask for examples or take a look at whatever style guide your university uses.

 

One area where students sometimes struggle is in the presentation of quotes from sources. Depending on length, these can either be presented as “blockquotes” – in their own paragraph, indented from the main text – or as “inline” quotes that are incorporated into a paragraph. Again, ask for examples or consult the appropriate style guide for your institution.

 

Tip #6: Look Up a List of Commonly Misused Words

 

Some words are very easily confused with one another, or used incorrectly. It’s worth checking through the words and phrases that people commonly get wrong just to be sure you’re not making any mistakes.

 

Tip #7: Edit Your Essays On Paper Where Possible

 

Hopefully, you’re already editing your essays before handing them in – if not, definitely make that into a habit. Don’t just look out for typos and spelling mistakes: think about areas where you haven’t made your thinking clear, or where you haven’t backed up a statement with a reference or fact.

 

While there are lots of tools you can use to make editing on the screen easier, I don’t think anything can replace a careful read-through on paper – especially if you’re handing in something that’s going to make up a large part of your final mark.

 

#8: Share Your Essay-in-Progress With Fellow Students

 

Can you get together with one or two other people on your course and swap your draft essays? Often, someone else’s feedback can really help you to clarify your own thinking – and they may spot potential problems that you’d have missed, or areas where you could go further.

 

Even if you don’t want to give one another substantial feedback, you could still swap essays for light editing / proofreading purposes: it’s surprising how someone else’s mistakes can leap out at you, whereas your own tend not to be obvious (because you know what you think you wrote…)

 

Whether writing’s something you enjoy, or a necessary evil, I hope these tips help you to write great essays without spending a huge amount of time on them. If you have an essay-writing tip of your own to share, feel free to leave it below in the comments.

 

Learning to Write by Reading

 

You might think avoiding other influences makes you a more original writer. But nobody can write in a vacuum. Even the meanings of words depend on how others have used them. You didn’t invent the English language. Everything you write, you learned from someone else, even if only from your first grade teacher. Only when you’re aware of your influences as a writer can you transcend them, instead of unconsciously copying them.

 

Instead, reading other writers (which you already do) and learning from their style will help you develop your own, original style. Besides improving your vocabulary, it will give you a wider array of tools from which you can choose. You may recognize your own style as you read someone else’s. Or you may learn what you don’t want to sound like.

 

Choosing your influences

 

Which writers should an aspiring writer read? You should read the great ones – there, that’s vague enough. Start with the classics of world literature, because many people over many years have confirmed they’re worth reading. You can search Google for “greatest writers of all time” to see a list. Include modern authors as well, because that’s what you are. My colleague Mark Nichol suggests four books that demonstrate specific writing skills.

 

But be warned: take advice on what writers to read, but not whom you must imitate. You can never be anyone but yourself. In 18th century England, everyone thought they needed to write like Lord Chesterfield, but that was a bad idea even in the 18th century. Imitate the writers you want to be like – it’s more profound than it sounds. As I’ve said before, you are what you read. Reading influences your style, and as you discover your true style, you have an obligation to keep developing it.

 

Even great writers might be imitated for the wrong reasons. Perhaps another writer’s uniqueness shouldn’t be imitated, since you have your own. Perhaps he or she can get away with breaking rules that you and I shouldn’t try to, not until we become more skilled. Until we do, no wonder our writing doesn’t quite work.

 

Or it might be a writer’s persona that draws us, rather than their skill. Many aspiring writers long to be irreverent free-spirits, but that doesn’t make them good writers. Mixing a drink like Ernest Hemingway will not make you write like him. (Hemingway himself retorted, “Have you ever heard of anyone who drank while he worked? You’re thinking of Faulkner. He does sometimes.”) Some great literary figures were great partly because of their suffering, and you may not want that. Some of them were mentally ill.

 

Imitate writers because of how they write, not because of what they write about. Some writers became popular only because they landed on the popular side of popular controversies. As Kurt Vonnegut wrote about his fictitious novelist Kilgore Trout, “His prose was frightful. Only his ideas were good.” Other writers camouflage their bad ideas with excellent writing, but it’s dangerous to imitate interesting writers who write badly.

 

Developing your tools

 

Choose the writers who can do what you want to do, so you can learn how to do it yourself. Like many people, my favorite writer Connie Willis could never guess the murderer in Agatha Christie novels. She wanted to learn how to surprise her readers too, so she studied Agatha Christie’s plots to figure out how she did it, and it paid off. Now critics call her “a novelist who can plot like Agatha Christie.”

 

If you’re writing within a genre, you need to learn the genre, but it’s more important to learn the skills. In other words, don’t say, “Okay, I like J.R.R. Tolkien, so I want to learn to write about orcs.” Orcs have been done enough already. If you really want to give orcs a fresh face (and orcs are not known for their facial beauty), you first need to learn to write about evil, or danger, or enemies. So find authors who understand those things, whatever their genre. If you are organizing a dangerous quest, you don’t need to imitate the way Gandalf organized one in Bilbo Baggins’ hobbit hole. You could find inspiration for that in Moby Dick or Treasure Island. Professor Tolkien would be ashamed if all you learned from his writings was how to talk like an orc.

 

You can imitate the style of others as you develop your own, but there’s no need to imitate their ideas. If you’re writing about danger, sure, read how other writers depict danger. Read what they say, then decide what you want to say. It should not be the same thing. That is not the kind of imitation I’m talking about. How you feel about danger will be different because you’re different. That’s your unique contribution.

 

How to absorb a writer’s influence

 

Besides reading, what other ways can you learn from an author?

 

  • Copy out passages that you like. Copying focuses your attention by slowing down your reading. You can learn better by involving the hand as well as the eye.
  • Read out loud. While you’re at it, why not read regularly to those who can’t read for themselves? That helps you, the aspiring writer, as well as the preschool future reader, or the elderly person with failing sight.
  • Create templates from favorite sentences, similar to the Mad Libs game, and fill the structure with your own words. For example, based on the first line of Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome:

     

    NAME VERB the NOUN, bit by bit, from ADJECTIVE NOUN, and each time it was a ADJECTIVE NOUN.

     

    Adapted original

     

     

    I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and each time it was a different story.

     

  • Parody an author’s style while writing on a subject that he never would have. That’s how the “Bad Hemingway Contest” kept going for nearly 30 years. Parodying Ernest Hemingway is an attractive target that has tempted distinguished writers such as E. B. White, Raymond Chandler, F. Scott Fitzgerald and George Plimpton.

 

Imitation doesn’t need to be a form of flattery. You can learn a lot about a writer’s style when you make gentle fun of him or her. W. H. Auden, in his 1962 essay “The Poet and the City,” says that in his imaginary College for Bards, “the only critical exercise required of students would be the writing of parodies.”

 

Authors who learned writing by copying out passages, even entire books, include Jack London, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Hunter S. Thompson.