IELTS Writing, Task 1, Task 2

Cohesion & Coherence (2) – concession / contrast / time

This article continues from the last one in presenting more linking expressions for writing cohesive texts

The focus of this article is on ways to express the following links:
• Concession & correcting
• Comparing / Contrasting
• Time clauses


Below are some of the common phrases used to express these three areas.

 

Concession

 ‘Concession’ in the context of linking expressions refers to those words and phrases which signal something unexpected or of a surprising nature compared to what is said in the main clause or previous sentence

 

although / even though

regardless

even so

yet

despite (the fact)

however

in spite of

nevertheless/nonetheless

still

 

 

Notes: 

 

1. ‘Even though’ is just a more emphatic version of ‘although’. These are used to introduce a concessive clause.



2. Despite and in spite of do not introduce a concessive clause. They are followed by a noun or a verb+ing form.



3. ‘Still’ is often added to reinforce the concessive meaning.

 


Examples:

 

• Despite working hard, she failed the exam.

 

• She worked hard. Even so, she failed the exam.

 

• The train was late. In spite of this, I still managed to get to the meeting on time.

 

• Regardless of the strong opposition, the Government went ahead with its controversial policy.

 

• There was strong opposition. Nevertheless, the Government still went ahead with its controversial policy.

 

 

Correcting

These expressions introduce a statement which in some way corrects or qualifies the previous sentence.

 

actually

at least

really

in (actual)fact 

On the contrary

in reality

 

Examples:

 

• Many people believe that the world will not be able to feed itself in fifty years. Actually, there is no evidence to support such a claim.

 

• The survey was meant to find out people’s opinions on their local facilities. In fact, it only collected information about people’s spending habits.

 

• I’ve run a marathon. Well, at least I’ve trained to run a marathon.


Comparing / Contrasting

 

compared to /with

conversely

different from

in comparison with

in/by contrast

instead

on the one hand…on the other hand

similar to

similarly

the reverse is true

unlike

whereas/while

 

 

Notes


1. ‘Instead’ indicate a replacement as well as a contrast.

 


2. ‘Whereas’ is considered a little more formal than ‘while. Both are used to connect clauses. ‘In contrast’ is used to connect sentences.

 


3. ‘Conversely’ is mainly used to indicate a different way of regarding something.

 


4. Compared to and compared with can often be used interchangeably. But only ‘compared to’ can be used when you make an analogy, that is saying how one thing is like another thing. A good example is Shakespeare’s famous question:

 


“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Another example would be ‘The heart can be compared to a pump’

 


Examples:

 

• He never studies. Instead he plays video games all day.

 


• People who like city life tend to think that living in the country must be boring. Conversely, those who prefer to live in the country view city life as noisy and stressful.

 


• On the one hand living in the country can be inconvenient because of the poor public transport. But on the other hand, you don’t have the problems connected with traffic congestion.

 


• Oxford is similar to Cambridge in being famous for its colleges.

 


• Oxford is famous for its colleges. Similarly, Cambridge is a world-famous university town

 

 

Time

Expressions connecting sentences based on time can be divided into three groups.


1. Before the given time -reference

 

already

before (this/that)

beforehand

formerly

previously

So far

by now/then

until now/then

up to then

 

Examples:

 

• The town was able to prepare for the hurricane. They had been told beforehand when it would strike.

 


• She was a little nervous at first. She had previously only performed in front of small audiences.

 


• Everyone was surprised at his high score. Up to then, he had never achieved more than a C grade.



2. Simultaneous with the given time reference

 

at present

at the same time

concurrently

(in the) meantime

presently

simultaneously


Examples:

 

He has lived in Japan for many years. However, at present he is based in the UK.

 

The supermarkets were thinking of asking their suppliers to lower their prices. But, In the meantime, the farmers were planning to demonstrate against the supermarkets.

 

He worked as a shop assistant but that was not his only occupation. Concurrently he was studying for his law degree.

 

3. Subsequent to given time reference


Examples:

 

• The business closed down last year. Afterwards the office building was turned into a restaurant.

 

• The proposal is first discussed by a team. Following this, it is sent to the Director.


Exercises

 

In exercises, make coherent sentences by combining words and phrases from each of the columns. The exercises cover linking expressions from the previous article as well as this one.

 

 

In order to

 

the risk of severe injury from high speed collisions,

many drivers flout the speed limit.

 

Although

 

popular belief,

it was claimed there was an unacceptably high number of fatal collisions.

 

Due to

the speed limit on UK motorways is 70 mph,

most countries impose speed limits om their motorways.

 

In contrast to

reduce the risk of high speed collisions

most countries impose speed limits on their motorways.

 

Despite

the introduction of speed limits,

Germany does not have a speed limit on its motorways.

 

At present

most countries impose speed limits on their motorways,

the accident rate on motorways is much lower than it for accidents on minor roads.

 

Before

the risk of severe injury from high speed collisions,

though the car industry is constantly lobbying for this to be raised or even removed.

 

Contrary to

most countries,

these limits are flouted by many drivers.

 


 

I hope you now have a better idea of the wide range of linking expressions at your disposal. Using any task 2 essay topic, as in the exercises above try to create sentences using different connectors. Active practice like this helps you to become more familiar with the range of sentence patterns that can be used to express your meaning.

 


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Answers to Exercises
 
• In order to reduce the risk of high speed collisions most countries impose speed limits om their motorways.
 
• Although most countries impose speed limits on their motorways, these limits are flouted by many drivers.

 

• Due to the risk of severe injury from high speed collisions, most countries impose speed limits on their motorways.
 
• In contrast to most countries, Germany does not have a speed limit on its motorways.
 
• Despite the risk of severe injury from high speed collisions, many drivers flout the speed limit.

 

• At present the speed limit on UK motorways is 70 mph, though the car industry is constantly lobbying for this to be raised or even removed.
 
• Before the introduction of speed limits, it was claimed there was an unacceptably high number of fatal collisions.
 
• Contrary to popular belief, the accident rate on motorways is much lower than it for accidents on minor road