Cohesion: linking words and phrases

Before starting to write something make sure you read this article 🙂 Here is a very helpful list of linking words and phrases that can help you write a coherent text.  Also, please make sure you fully understand their meaning before using them into your text as they can change completely the meaning of your text 🙂 As a tip, I would recommend you to use a variety of expressions, particularly in longer pieces of writing.

Listing: first, second, furthermore, finally, to begin, to conclude, next, etc.

Giving examples: for example, for instance, as follows, that is, in this case, namely, in other words, etc.

Generalizing: in general, generally, on the whole, as a rule, for the most part, in most cases, usually, etc.

Reinforcement: also, furthermore, moreover, what is more, in addition, besides, above all, as well (as), in the same way,not only…but also, etc.

Result/consequence: so, therefore, as a result/consequence, accordingly, consequently, because of this/that, thus, hence, for this/that reason, so that, in that case, under these circumstances, etc.

Highlighting: in particular, particularly, especially, mainly, etc.

Reformulation: in other words, rather, to put it more simply, etc.

Similarity: equally, likewise, similarity, correspondingly, in the same way, etc.

Expressing an alternative: alternatively, rather, on the other hand, the alternative is, another possibility would be, etc.

Deduction: then, in other words, in that case, otherwise, this implies that…, if so/not, etc.

Transition to new point: now, as far as x is concerned, with regard/reference to, as for…, it follows that, turning to, etc.

Contrast: instead, conversely, on the contrary,  in contrast, in comparison, etc.

Summary: in conclusion, to conclude, in brief, to summarize, overall, therefore, etc.

Starting the obvious: obviously, clearly, naturally, of course,as can be expected, surely, after all, etc.

Concession (something expected): however, even though, however much, nevertheless, still, yet, etc.

Whether vs if

The words ‘if’ and ‘whether’ are sometimes interchangeable.  However, this is not always the case.

Whether and If

Whether and if can be used interchangeably in the following circumstances:

When reporting yes/no questions:

  • I am unsure whether I will be attending the meeting.
  • I am unsure if I will be attending the meeting.

In whether/if…or…constructions:

  • I would like to know whether it is a true story or fabricated.
  • I would like to know if it is a true story or fabricated.


In the following circumstances, ‘whether’ should be used:

To present two alternatives (neither of which is a condition):

  • Inform the clerk whether Mike needs a seat.

(In this example, the two alternatives are ‘Mike needs a seat’ and ‘Mike does not need a seat’. The clerk is to be informed in either case.).

  • Let Anna know whether the boss is able to go to London.

(In this example, the two alternatives are ‘going’ and ‘not going’. Anna needs to know the answer regardless of which is chosen.).

After prepositions:

  • I would like to talk about whether you are going to Florida.

(The word ‘about’ is a preposition.).

  • At this point, the flight attendant makes the decision on whether the passenger stays on the aircraft.

(The word ‘on’ is a preposition.).

Before infinitive verbs starting ‘to’:

  • They can’t decide whether to get married now or wait.

(‘To get married’ is an infinitive verb)

  • They can’t decide whether to get married now or wait.

When ‘whether’ starts a clause that is the sentence subject or complement:

  • Whether you sink or swim is not my concern.

(‘Whether you sink or swim’ is the subject of this sentence.)

  • I don’t care whether you sink or swim.

(‘Whether you sink or swim’ is the complement of the verb ‘to care’.)

In formal writing:

However, when if and whether are interchangeable, choose whether in formal writing

  • I doubt whether the team will succeed.
  • Please establish a committee to determine whether the proposed funding lines are appropriate.


Use ‘if’ to introduce a condition (i.e., in a conditional sentence).  In a conditional sentence, a condition has to be satisfied before something occurs.

  • If you sing, I’ll pay you 100 dollars.
  • Peter will catch you if you fall.

Reputation vs repute

Reputation is the opinion that people in general have about someone or something, or how much respect or admiration someone or something receives, based on past behaviour or character. It is the good name/high regard that someone or something gets for good quality work or good quality workmanship. Of course it can also be used negatively for bad work and workmanship although the positive use is more common.

Repute refers to the opinion that people hold – in other words what other people think of you. It is when someone or something has a bad/good, etc. reputation. It is if you like more abstract in meaning and is used in expressions like: of high repute/of low repute – people have a high or low opinion of something.

Are “pardon”, “sorry” and “excuse me” interchangeable?

Many non-native speakers do not know how to use “pardon”, “sorry” and “excuse me” in a sentence. Here are some explanations:


Excuse me

  • used when you want to get someone’s attention politely, especially when you want to ask a question;
  • used to ask someone politely to move so that you can walk past;
  • used to ask someone to repeat something that they have just said;
  • used when asking permission.

Pardon me


I beg your pardon

  • used to ask someone to repeat something that they have just said;
  • used when you want to get someone’s attention politely, especially when you want to ask a question;
  • more formal than excuse me.


  • used to express regret;
  • used for telling someone that you are ashamed or unhappy about something that you have done that has hurt or upset them;
  • used for emphasizing that something is so bad that it makes you feel sympathy;
  • used in a social situation as a way of asking someone to forgive you for doing something rude, embarrassing etc.;
  • used for politely disagreeing with someone’s opinion.