How can you make your sentences more complex? Link them!
Linking words are important. You know this. Short sentences are fine. They are accurate. But too simple. Like these.
So what to do?
Why are linking words so important?
If you link two sentences together, you’ll get a more complex sentence like this one, using a conditional (or an ‘ing’ verb like ‘using‘!).
However, it’s not enough to just put words like ‘However’ or ‘In addition’ or ‘Nevertheless’ at the start of each sentence.
It is still just one sentence with ‘However/In addition/Nevertheless’ at the start.
Although it’s good to do this occasionally, it can become too ‘mechanical’, which means that you’ll only get Band 6 for Cohesion and Coherence. It’s much better to link sentences together (as you can see in this example), rather than just putting a word at the start all the time.
Some ‘advanced’ ways of doing this are:
- Conditionals (If, Unless, Provided that, As long as, Even if)
- Contrasting/Comparisons (despite, in spite of, rather than, similar to, otherwise)
- Concessions (Even though, although, while)
- Reasons (Because of, Due to, as a result of, so that, in order to)
- Results (with the result that, which resulted in, which means that, which leads to)
- Time expressions (When, As soon as, While, Since, By the time)
Or you can use ‘ing’ verbs (Present Participles):
Look at the 2 sentences below and consider how you could link them:
- New rules were introduced. The rules decreased traffic congestion immediately.
Band 5 – Simple cohesive devices e.g. ‘and’ ‘but’ ‘so’ ‘because’ ‘also’.
- New rules were introduced and they decreased traffic congestion immediately.
Band 5 or 6 – Simple relative clauses e.g. ‘where’, ‘who’, ‘that’, ‘when’, ‘which’
- New rules were introduced, which decreased traffic congestion immediately.
Band 6 More complex cohesive devices e.g. ‘when’ ‘before/after’ ‘although’ ‘However’.
- As soon as the rules were introduced, traffic congestion decreased immediately.
Band 6/7 A variety of more complex linking words used accurately e.g. ‘In spite of’ ‘Despite’ ‘Unless’ ‘As long as’, ‘as a result’
- New rules were introduced, and, as a result, traffic congestion decreased immediately.
- New rules were introduced, which lead to an immediate reduction in the amount of traffic on the roads.
- New rules were introduced, which meant that congestion decreased immediately.
Band 7+ A wide variety of complex linking words used accurately e.g. the ‘ing’ form of the verb.
- New rules were introduced, decreasing congestion immediately.
- New rules were introduced, thus decreasing congestion immediately.
- New rules were introduced, resulting in an immediate reduction of congestion.
How do I use ‘ing’ verbs (Participle Clauses)?
They’re pretty easy, but there are some guidelines.
Usually the subject has to be the same, for example:
- During this period, the cost of a mobile phone halved. The cost of a mobile phone fell from around £30 to £15 a month.
- During this period, the cost of a mobile phone contract halved, falling from around £30 to £15 a month.
But you can introduce a new subject:
- The charts show differences in the number of car-owners. Older people are three times more likely to own a car than younger people.
- The charts show differences in the number of car-owners, older people being three times more likely to own a car than younger people.
And you can also use ‘ing’ to add more information, as in this Task 1 example:
- The trend was similar for women. Numbers went up significantly in June and remained high throughout the summer.
- The trend was similar for women, with numbers going up significantly in June and remaining high throughout the summer.’
Or in this ‘Describing changes to a Map’ example:
- They built a footpath. The footpath allowed access to the beach.
- A footpath was built, allowing more access to the beach.
Is there anything else I need to know about ‘ing’ verbs?
Well, if the subject is different, they can sound pretty funny!
What might be wrong with this sentence?
‘I grabbed a coffee running out of the house’.
It sounds as if the coffee was running out of the house.
Need more help?
Get the full worksheet and video to accompany this lesson in my Members Academy.
Keep an eye out for more examples of ‘ing’ to link sentences – now that you know about them, you’ll see them everywhere!