Linkers for the CPE Exam

One of the areas of English that you need to both know and especially use to do well in the Cambridge Proficiency Exam (CPE) is linkers. You'll frequently see or hear them used in both the Reading/Use of English and Listening parts of exam, and you really do need to use a wide variety of them in both your Writing and Speaking to show that you have a good level of the language.

Due to the nature of the exam (you are expected to both know and use a lot of intellectual and academic vocabulary to pass it), the linkers which you will learn here are very advanced, so difficult and rarely used in common speech. To learn and practice using other advanced linkers (which you should also be using in this exam), you should also read and do the exercise in Linkers for the CAE Exam.

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 OWING TO THE FACT THAT it was raining.

In the above sentence, "owing to the fact that" 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 " owing to the fact that " 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 sentence below the linker is not used to give a reason:

It was raining, YET I still went for a walk in the park.

In this sentence, the linker "yet" is used to show a contrast/contradiction (because people don't normally go walking in the park when it is raining).

And in addition to (which is another linker) linkers that give a reason or show a contrast/contradiction, there are other types as well. Like those that are used to say if you take account of something (e.g. "considering"), 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 a conditional relationship between two actions (e.g. "if").

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. I have been doing a lot of exercise over the last couple of months. Nonetheless, I haven’t lost much weight.

2. Swimming is very good for all your joints. Conversely, football isn’t. Especially for the knees.

3. They had a massive argument last night, hence that is why they are not talking today.

4. The film, albeit a little long, was overall very enjoyable.

5. Seeing that I didn’t have anything to do, I decided to clean my house.

6. I am studying English as a means to get a better job in the future.

7. Improving your knowledge of the topics you are likely to encounter in the reading exam will make them easier to understand, thereby making it easier to identify the right answers.

8. I fell over on my way here, thus the mud on my clothes.

9. She became a professional tennis player through hard work, determination and talent.

10. Given that he only started training for the event last month, his time for the marathon is very impressive.

11. You will still be able to come to the party on the proviso that you behave yourself whilst you are there.

12. The problems just mentioned to you notwithstanding, I still think the event will be a success.

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.

Please note, some of these are not exact synonyms of the above linkers. Although they are used to show a similar relationship between the parts of a sentence (or between sentences), some cannot be used exactly as you would use common linkers like "so", "although" etc...

So use them (their position in a sentence and the type of grammatical structure which follows or precedes them) as is shown in their example in order to avoid using them incorrectly.