Linkers for the FCE Exam

One of the areas of English that you need to both know and use to do well in the Cambridge First Certificate in English (FCE) is linkers. You'll frequently see or hear them used in both the Reading/Use of English and Listening parts of exam, and you'll be expected to use a variety of them correctly in both the Writing and Speaking parts as well.

To help you improve both your knowledge and use of linkers for FCE exam, read this article. By doing it you'll not only learn some advanced linkers (by doing two quizzes) you'll see and can use in the exam, but you'll understand how to use linkers correctly.

But to do this, you'll first need to know what linkers do.

What a linker does

Linkers are words or phrases which connect different parts of a sentence or different sentences together. For example:

The tennis match was cancelled BECAUSE it was raining.

In the above sentence, "because" links the two clauses of the sentence ("The tennis match was cancelled" and "it was raining") together.

Linkers show what the relationship is between the two parts. In the above example, "it was raining" is the reason why the match was cancelled. This is the reason why "because" is used here because it is a linker that is used to give a reason for why something happened.

They can show different types of relationships

Linkers are used to show a variety of different relationships between the parts of a sentence. For example, in the two sentences below the linkers are not used to give a reason:

ALTHOUGH it was raining, I still went for a walk in the park.

I play football every week. AS WELL AS football, I also play tennis every week.

In the first sentence, the linker "although" is used to show a contrast/contradiction (because people don't normally go walking in the park when it is raining). While in the second, "as well as" is used to add additional information to a statement you have made (that you play tennis in addition to football every week).

And in addition to (which is another linker) linkers that give a reason, show a contrast/contradiction or are used to add extra information, there are other types as well. Like those that are used to give an example to support an opinion (e.g. "for example"), to say what the result of an action is (e.g. "so"), to say what the purpose of an action is (e.g. "to") or to say that there is conditional relationship between two actions (e.g. "if I am tired, I go to bed").

Now look at the below example sentences and guess what type of relationship the linkers (which are in bold) in each is used to show:

Type of linker quiz

1. Despite being very tired, I still went to the disco.
 

2. He failed the exam due to not studying a lot during the year.
 

3. She moved to England for 3 months in order to improve her English.
 

4. I told him that he shouldn't come to the party, however, he still came.
 

5. As long as you don't drive my car too fast, you can borrow my car for the day.
 

6. There are many things you can do to get healthy, such as not eating junk food.
 

7. Besides not eating junk food, you can also do regular exercise to get healthy.
 

8. He was tired, therefore he went to bed.
 

9. Despite the fact that it was 2 in the morning, she still rang her friend.
 

10. I bought this book for you since I know you like the author.
 

11. I really like poetry, whereas my sister hates it.
 

12. I won't leave the flat unless you call and ask me to.
 

13. There are many things I like to do at the weekend. For instance, going to the cinema.
 

14. I went to bed early due to the fact that I was extremely tired.
 

15. She injured her arm yesterday playing tennis, yet she is going to play again today. She should rest it for a few days.
 

16. I bought the new computer in order that I could make and edit my own YouTube videos.
 

17. There are many things that you can do to improve your health, like doing exercise or eating healthy food.
 


Followed by different grammatical structures

In addition to being used to show the type of relationship two parts of a sentence have (or two different sentence have), linkers are also followed by different types of grammatical structures. You can see this in the below two sentences that use the linkers "because" and "because of":

The tennis match was cancelled BECAUSE it was raining heavily.

The tennis match was cancelled BECAUSE OF the heavy rain.

The meaning of both the linkers and the sentences is the same. However, with "because" it is followed by a clause (something that includes both a subject ("it") and a verb ("was raining")), whereas with "because of", it is followed by a noun phrase ("the heavy rain"), a grammatical structure that doesn't include a subject and its verb.

So some linkers are what are called "conjunctions" (they have to be followed directly by a clause), while others are "prepositions" (they have to be followed directly by a noun or noun phrase). This is important to remember if you are going to use them correctly in your speaking or writing.

Remember that a clause normally has to contain both a subject and a verb. If it doesn't include a subject (the thing that does the action), then it very likely that the verb is being used as a noun.

Below you will find a quiz with the same 17 sentences you looked at earlier. Now you are going to decide for each linker whether they are a conjunction (followed by a clause) or a preposition (followed by a noun or noun phrase):

Preposition or conjunction quiz

1. Despite being very tired, I still went to the disco.
 

2. He failed the exam due to not studying a lot during the year.
 

3. She moved to England for 3 months in order to improve her English.
 

4. I told him that he shouldn't come to the party, however, he still came.
 

5. As long as you don't drive my car too fast, you can borrow my car for the day.
 

6. There are many things you can do to get healthy, such as not eating junk food.
 

7. Besides not eating junk food, you can also do regular exercise to get healthy.
 

8. He was tired, therefore he went to bed.
 

9. Despite the fact that it was 2 in the morning, she still rang her friend.
 

10. I bought this book for you since I know you like the author.
 

11. I really like poetry, whereas my sister hates it.
 

12. I won't leave the flat unless you call and ask me to.
 

13. There are many things I like to do at the weekend. For instance, going to the cinema.
 

14. I went to bed early due to the fact that I was extremely tired.
 

15. She injured her arm yesterday playing tennis, yet she is going to play again today. She should rest it for a few days.
 

16. I bought the new computer in order that I could make and edit my own YouTube videos.
 

17. There are many things that you can do to improve your health, like doing exercise or eating healthy food.
 


Now use them

Now that you know these linkers, what they do and how they are grammatically used, there is one last thing to do; and that is to use them. Doing this will help you to remember them. So now create a sentence(s) in your own words where you use each of the linkers. You can either just say the sentences or write them down, it's your choice.