Linking Words for IELTS Speaking: Word List & Tips

Here is a list of linking words for your IELTS speaking with tips and models. For speaking you need some simple linking words and natural phrases to help the examiner follow your ideas and stories. These linking words  and signposts are simple and informal on the whole. IELTS writing is different and requires the use of a wide range of linkers.


Adding more information

  • and
  • also
  • as well as
  • another reason is

Time Phrases

You should use signposts to help the listening understand when you are talking about the past or the present.

  • now
  • at the moment
  • at present
  • right now
  • these days
  • nowadays
  • in the past
  • before
  • then
  • at that time
  • years ago
  • when I was younger

Expressing ideas

  • I think one important thing is
  • I guess one difference is
  • I suppose the main difference between X and Y is

Causes and Solutions

  • I guess it’s because
  • The main reason is
  • It was caused by
  • Because
  • I suppose the best way to deal with this problem is
  • I reckon the only answer is to
  • The best way to solve this is

Giving Examples

These connective devices are for giving examples in your answers. The most common and natural to use is “like”. Please note that “like” can’t be used as a linking device in IELTS writing.

  • for example
  • for instance
  • such as
  • like

Being Clear

You use these simple, natural expression to explain your point again more clearly or get your answer back on track.

  • What I mean is
  • What I want to say is
  • As I was saying

Contrasting and concessions

Use these connecting words to compare and contrast or give concessions.

  • but
  • on the other hand
  • while
  • although
  • or

Free PDF Download: Linking words for IELTS Speaking

Examples of Linking Words in Speaking

Look at the following questions and answers. See what linking words are contained in the answers.

Q. Do you eat much fruit?

A. Yes, I do. I love tropical fruit like mangoes and pineapples.

Comments: We would not use “for example” in this type of sentence which relates to our everyday life.

Q. Do you think fast food is bad?

A. Yes, I do. If it is eaten too often, it can cause problems such as heart disease or diabetes. Also, it can lead to weight problems which are really common nowadays.

Comments: You could use “such as” or “for example” in this sentence because the content is more serious. Please note that we don’t use “furthermore” or “in addition” for speaking, instead we use “also” or “and”.

Q. Do children play similar games today that they played in the past?

A. No, I don’t think they do. Before, children used to play simple games like hide and seek or they used to play with simple handmade toys. But, these days, kids tend to prefer computer games and their toys are battery operated. 

Comments: This answer contained time phrases for the past and present “before” and “these days”. It also had an example “like”. “Like” is the main example linking word for speaking and can be repeated again and again. This answer also uses a contrasting linking word “but”. “But” is the main contrasting linking word in speaking and can be repeated many times.

Mistakes with Linking Words in Speaking

The example below will help you understand how not to answer a question with linking words.

Q. Do you like going out with friends?

A. Yes, I do. Firstly, it gives me a chance to relax. Secondly, I can catch up on their news. Last but not least, it allows me the opportunity to visit new places.

Comments: The method of linking is too formal. It is inappropriate and is not a good for a high score.

See below what the answer should be:

A. Yes, I do. It’s great being able to chill out and catch up with their news. Also we often go out to new places which I really enjoy.

Comments: This answer was more natural and would be marked higher in IELTS speaking. The linking words are used appropriately (and / also).

Tips for Linking Devices in IELTS Speaking

  • Don’t use formal linking words for simple questions about yourself and your life.
  • Don’t worry about repeating linking words. This is different to IELTS writing.
  • The most common linking words for speaking are: and, but, because, also, like (for giving examples)
  • “Like” is only used as a linking word to give examples in speaking NOT in writing.
  • You do not get a higher score because used a range of linking devices.
  • Linking words in speaking are just to help the listener understand better.
  • Linking words are used naturally not formally in IELTS speaking.
  • Linking words are part of the criterion of “Fluency and Coherence” which is 25% of your marks.

Linking Devices for IELTS Writing

The following link will provide you with a list of Essential Linking Words for Writing Task 2. For IELTS writing, you MUST use a range of formal linking words in your essay to get a high score. This is applicable to both GT and academic students.

IELTS Speaking Questions

IELTS speaking common questions and topics to practice for your test.

IELTS Speaking Part 1 Topics

IELTS Speaking Part 2 Topics

IELTS Speaking Part 3 Topics

IELTS Speaking Model Answers and Tips:

IELTS Speaking Page

Main IELTS Pages

Develop your IELTS skills with tips, model answers, lessons, free videos and more.

Linking Words



  1. Hey, Can we use words like chill, cool, catch up etc in my speaking? Also is there something like I can’t say don’t..I’ll have to say do not.

    Kindly let me know about these.

    • The speaking test is informal and you can use informal language. Go to the HOME page of this website and access all main sections to learn more.


    Hi Liz,

    While talking about something in IELTS speaking, shall we use Second Person Singular or First Person plural? Such as

    “The Corona Virus enters the body when you/we breath in infected droplets or when you/we touch a contaminated surface”

    Most of the times we use “You” to refer to an example. Kindly advise about this.

    Thanks and Regards

    Zia ur Rehman

    • IELTS Speaking is informal, not formal. This means you don’t need to worry about that sort of thing. It is completely normal in Emglish when we are speaking to refer to “you” instead of “we” or “one” or “all people”. This should be avoided in IELTS writing.

  3. Segufta Raonak says

    Is it wise/permitted to use natural fillers like ‘umm’ , ‘uh’ for the speaking part? Will it deduct my marks if by any chance I use them unconsciously?

    • “Fillers” are words that you use to fill a space while you are thinking such as “well, let me see, I suppose that …” or “I can’t say I’ve thought about that before but I guess …”. The sound “umm” is not a filler, it is not a word. This means it lower your score because you have stopped speaking. It is natural to use such sounds on occasions and that is permitted, but to use them often because you are struggling with language will lower your score. Make sure you prepare as many topics as possible to have as many ideas as possible to avoid hesitations. See the main speaking page for topics.

  4. Hi Liz,
    Can’t we use connectors like however, moreover, further more, on the other hand, apart from it.

    • Sure you can. But always remember that the speaking test is informal – don’t try to be too formal in the way you speak.

      • Thanks.

      • Can using rather formal expressions affect ones speaking test score? – for instance- “in addition instead of and or furthermore instead also”

        • If your speech seems unnatural, it will affect your score. It is possible to use such linking words on occasion, but I wouldn’t not specifically aim to use them.

          • Thank You Liz,
            however I am a bit confused then, what kind of words in particular should I aim for in speaking in order to score high for vocabulary and not to lose due to formal language use?

            Kind regards

            • Do not confuse linking words (which are part of coherence) with vocabulary, which is a separate marking criterion. Linking words for speaking should not be formal because IELTS Speaking is informal, as this page explains. Use “and”, “but” and “because” as many times as you want. The range of linking words is not marked in IELTS Speaking. But your range of vocabulary (not linking words) is marked. So, be flexible with your use of vocabulary.

  5. Thank you for everything. Studying IELTS is better with you!! 💕

  6. Thanks a lot for your helpfulness to those who needed without no profit thats clearly lovely 🤗

  7. This is very helpful. I appeared in IELTS in 2012 and my band was 6 each. Now i am planning to appear again. I am only relying on your tutorials and hoping for far better results than previous one.

  8. Those linking words are really helpful. I am grateful to you. My exam is nearby.

  9. Thandar Win Maung says

    Hi Liz,
    I am Thandar from Myanmar. I already finished the IELTS speaking exam today. I’d to say THANK YOU SO MUCH. Your tips,suggestions and videos are very effective for me. Your videos are so supportive and motivated. So, Again Thank you.

  10. Asher Holkar says

    Is it ok, If i ask for some time before a answer ?
    For example, Will you please give me moment to think ?

    • The IELTS test does not work that way. You are being marked on your fluency which means no thinking time. If you need time, ask the examiner to repeat the question – but only do that a couple of times.

      • gursewak says

        i use *and* in speaking too many times is it bad?

        • It is fine to do that in speaking. If you want to use a different word as a linking word to present additional information, try “also”.

  11. Hi liz ,
    I do hardwork but i am not achieve but bands and also in mock test i go downword every week
    .can u tell me solution of this problem

  12. Ankur Shukla says

    Hi Liz,
    Thanks for your speaking lessons.
    I did a blunder and in nervousness I ended up using a local word in a sentence.

    Can you tell me how badly it will affect my score?

    • It doesn’t affect your score, unless you did it repeatedly. It is always best to explain the word by paraphrasing in English after you say it because that will actually help your score.

  13. Wondering says

    Hi Liz! When you say we will get one minute to prepare notes, does this mean that you basically can write down full sentences or will you just be allowed to write down some small words? Is there any rules about what you can write or not?

    • You use the one minute as you wish. The examiner will not mark your notes. To write full sentences is a waste of time. You need to make plans and note ideas.

  14. Hi Liz, is it correct to introduce an answer with “Well”? For instance, “Do you play any sports?” “Well, I like watching sport on TV, but I don’t play any sports in my free time”

  15. Ibrokhimov says

    Hello, Liz)

    I got 4.5 point a month ago in Mock Exam. And then I started preparing. I am using Collins IELTS. The exam is on March 10 in Tashkent. Can I get top marks there?

    • You will get better marks if you have significantly improved your English and if you have developed strong IELTS exam skills.

      • Hi liz,

        I don’t have anyone that could teach me english so I am currently teaching myself. But it is always different when you have someone that you could ask to because sometimes googling your questions does not give you the proper answer.. I hope you’ll be able to read this and answer my question. “A phenomenal sight I was blessed to see” is grammatically wrong?
        I got confused to the I- was auxiliary verb – blessed adjective- infinitive verb to see. Because of the adjective that i added i was having trouble to understand what auxiliary verb should i use if i used the infinitive verb ‘to see’

  16. Hi Liz I just wanna as about speaking , so is it okay to use slang in speaking parts or it makes speech too informal?

    • The IELTS speaking test is informal. Using slang is fine but be careful – you still need to be polite even though it is informal. Never use any language that is insulting or distasteful.

  17. We absolutely love your blog and find most of your post’s to
    be precisely what I’m looking for. Does one offer guest writers to write content in your case?
    I wouldn’t mind composing a post or elaborating on a lot of the subjects you write concerning here.
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  18. Hello madam,

    I got my IELTS result and it was
    L 8
    R 8
    W 7
    S 6.5
    And I need only a had ban to get the required score , should I go for a remark ?

  19. Dear Liz!
    Is it really important to give the short answer before expanding it. For example: do you eat much fruit? Can I start my answer like this: “I try to eat fruits like apples and bananas every day. So I hope that’s sufficient for my vitamin daily consumption”. Or it’d be better to say: “yes, I do” at the beginning.
    BTW, can we say: do you eat much fruits?

    • Always start with a direct answer. Don’t try to change a simple question into a complex question. Do you eat fruit everyday? Yes, I do. I try to eat bananas and apples almost every day.” Don’t start talking about sufficient vitamins. You don’t get extra points or a higher score by speaking unnaturally. Part 1 is straight forward. A simple question needs a simple answer. This is not a formal speaking test. It is informal – so give a natural answer.

  20. Hi Liz, my IELTS exam is couple of days from now, precisely July 31, 2017. I’m not sure I’m quite prepared. I still have lots of ums, ohs and lengthy pauses. How do I overcome these challenges?
    By the way, your videos and lessons​ are quite helpful.

  21. First I’d like to thank you for your simplicity way to deliver your lessons, but i;ve a big problem with confiedent when I speak as I an’t express what I feel in English way like you, also i don’t have enough vocabulary to use.

  22. abdulatiyf says

    Can I use “wanna” or “gonna” in speaking test

  23. Hi Liz,

    I’m currently studying English in Vietnam National University and I’m going to take the IELTS exams in April. I have read most of your tips for IELTS speaking test and I found it was useful for me. However, I also have used an IELTS book written by Mat Clark and the other one from IELTS Simon. There are some problems that make me feel confused of finding the right way to learn English and I hope you could help me to find the answer.

    In Mat Clark’s book, I found some interesting tips for IELTS speaking tests, especially something called “Liking phrases”. For instances, in part 1, there are some linking phrases used to introduce the 1st idea like “The first thing I should mention is that…/The main thing you need to know is that…”, then, some phrases “Something else that I need to comment on is that…/In addition to what I’ve just said, I can add that…” used to add next ones. This is called “Mat Clark’s style”.
    Likewise, some linking phrases which have been seen in IELTS Simon may be shorter and easier to learn. (well, to be honest, it contains some simple and straight ways to express ideas). In fact, people call them as “Simon’s style”.

    Now I absolutely feel nervous about two ways of speaking style. Someone said Mat Clark’s style was too difficult and complicated for learners to get a high score, and the examiner would not be favor of those things like that. Those language mentioned above in Mat Clark’s book was said to be redundant or it was suit to write a book, not a normal communication or exam. They told me to follow Simon’s style.

    Could you tell me which way is better to learn or simply use in both the examination and life?
    Thank you very much.

    • Mat Clark’s advice on writing task 1, as you stated above, is 100% wrong. “The first thing I should mention is that…” is an example of informal language which is not appropriate for an academic report. IELTS Simon’s advice is fine for both speaking and writing. These are not styles, they are advice about what the examiner is looking for and what is appropriate for a good band score. Mat’s advice of language in task 1 is certainly not one to recommend.

      • Hello Liz, are Mat Clark and Matt from “the ielts teacher” same person? Because I sometimes follow Matt’s (“the ielts teacher”) instructions for writing. I’m confused. Could you please make me clear?

  24. Hi Liz,
    I heard from an IELTS teacher that we should talk formally because this is not an informal situation. But you suggested not to use formal english in speaking section.
    I’m a little bit confused. Could you tell me if it’s going to differ?

    • IELTS speaking is not formal and your language should be naturally and chatty. I am speaking as an ex-examiner myself. You can use phrasal verbs and informal language such as “stuff, things, chuck it out, kids etc”. In IELTS writing you would need to change these words to make them formal: kids = children, chuck it out = to dispose of

  25. Respected Mam,
    I do have capability to write, read and listen but i am not good in speaking Can you share lots of videos links having subtitle so that i could repeat words over and over again in order to make accent and fluency in speaking
    Kindly note my IELTS test is held on 11th Feb. It is requested to share links ASAP.
    Profound Regards,
    Suraj Kumar

  26. Hi can I improve my speaking skill?I feel panic and tension when I speak infront of any person.can you help me?

      • Mrs Liz, I totally confuse i participated in my Ielts interview in novermber 18/2016 in Nigeria and I also looking forward to receive my result on December third…But the main point is that as the woman was interviewing me she did not wrote any thing on peper until when she is through with me that when she manage note something down and close it, on the other hand, the recent one I did a month ago” before this second one she defiantly busy noteing some words i’m saying down which I finally scored 5.5, am really scared and sad(😔🙈).Well the main topic question she asked me to talk about base on materials equipment which will use in the house; unfortunately the graph was combined in two form which comprise age of old individuals, thanks for your good work 💞 I applicate. And am looking forward to hearing from you…

        • The examiner does not need to make notes to know your band score. Some examiners like making notes and some don’t need it. It doesn’t affect your final score.

    • You can also join toastmasters club in your locality. It is an international club that help to improve speaking before an audience. Thank me later.

  27. Thanks mam for giving some information about ielts as well as I can pratice ielts test by your distribute this site and some people easily solve problems by this website .Moreover I think that people should visit this website solve the address which was they confused in ielts exam .So, it’s my suggestion for all candidate it was training in ielts exam. Best of luck 👍👍👍

  28. junaid afzal says

    hey Mam,
    I have a question, If someone add personal story or experience in Specking IELTS module then what is effect on band positive or negative???

  29. hi
    can we use proverbs in speaking?

    • Just speak naturally. Don’t try to learn phrases to use. It is rare for native speakers to use proverbs in everyday English.

  30. hay liz..
    Thank you so much.. you have a great website. its help me to understand material about IELTS. WIll be better if you writes all material in this websites on a book =D

  31. Dear Liz my IELTS exam will be 16 0f July in this year how can i increase my English eaily and quickly to obtain high score

    • It takes time to develop English and to develop IELTS skills. Start at the beginning and watch my video on my home page. Then see how you progress.

  32. hi Liz! i’m just elia. it is time to say thank you. your informations are very beneficial for us. it would be more marvelous if you add more details to this list??

  33. Hello Dear Liz.
    In this month on 28/1/2016 I have an exam ielts Skill A1 but I am so afraid .I am going to do this exam to get my husband .he lives in UK but I live in Iraq I really want pass this exam but I am afraid about these questions that maks examiner to me.. Can u help me about this? Thanks for your help

  34. Hi Liz
    I’m currently living in England and planning to taking ielts on middle of November. Now what I want to know is does any of the test centres in England provides headphones? I think it is quite difficult to concentrate if you hear from a loud speaker than with a headphone. And result varies too. I’m really worried about this.
    Looking forward for a reply.
    Thank you 🙂

  35. Jamoliddin says

    Dear Liz,
    Could you tell me the ways to get 9 band from IELTS.

    • All tips and lessons on my blog are for the higher scores, including band 9. Just read and work through my lessons and tips.

  36. Hi, dear
    I want to ask you about: if l can ask the examiner to repeat the question? That’s when I didn’t heard clear
    Thanks alot for you about everything

    • Sure, it’s fine to ask the examiner to repeat the question. It doesn’t affect your score. You can just say: “Sorry, could you repeat the question please?”.

  37. Dear Liz,
    I suppos to sit on ielt on 12th December and getting preparation before test. As i have hearing difficulties and worry about my speaking test and listening test. I probably will get head phone during listening test that will better for me to hear and understand the topic. But i am very much worry and thinking about speaking section. My pronuntiation and sound is not up to the mark due hearing difficulties. Would my score be affected if i repeat quetions twice ?
    Would you like to give your valuable advice in speaking section for me having hearing difficulties.

    • Firstly, talk with the people in your local IELTS test center and ask them for advice about what to do for your speaking test. Secondly, when you have your test, you can mention to the examiner that you have hearing problems that might affect your pronunciation. Lastly, ask the examiner to repeat the question if you can’t understand. You won’t lose marks for this because there is no points given for comprehension – only for your English lanugage. When you ask the examiner to repeat the question, you can say ” Sorry could you repeat that because I’m hard of hearing”or “could you say that again because I can’t hear well”. This way your problem is formally recorded.
      All the best

  38. Hi Liz,
    My speaking test is scheduled for August 28th, i think i have the fluency and i’m able to extend my opinions however i’m wondering do my ideas need to be interesting or do i just need to keep talking(without going off topic) ?

    • There are no points given or taken from interesting ideas or being on or off topic. You are only marked on the language you produce, nothing more. So keep talking. Even if the examiner interrupts your answer, just focus on the next question and add plenty of information. You will probably need to add one sentence in part 1 and about three sentences in part 3. For part 2, you choose what information to give and how to develop your talk.
      All the best

  39. hi Liz
    i have asked you a question before but I guess there is some issue because could not find it anywhere on your website 🙁 I wanted to ask you about a word “hitherto” , could you please tell me can i use this word in my speaking test? like ” hitherto i am not doing studies nor job ” ?? please reply me

  40. Dear Mam,
    I got my result L6.5,R6.5,W5.5S6. My requirment is each band 6. I’m little confuse whether to go for remark or book for ielts. Please advice me.
    Thank you!

    • If you finished both writing task 1 and writing task 2 and also if you wrote over 150 words for task 1 and over 250 words for task 2, then you could consider a remark.
      All the best

      • Thank you mam!
        I have appiled for a remark and desperately waiting for my positive result. Hope I can get my requirement and I have wrote 150 & 250 words but some spelling has got mistake. Finger crossed.

  41. Hello Liz. Than you for your great website. It has been very helpful for me. I am a teacher helping a student prepare for their IELTS exam. I have learned a great deal about the test and preparation needed from your website. I see that your website is copyright protected. I would like to print information from your page to help assist in teaching my student. I have subscribed to your newsletter. Is there another step I can take to have access to printing from your page? I will sign up or pay a fee if needed. Thank you for your time and expertise.

  42. lady …
    thank you a million for your help…

  43. Lawrence says

    Hi there Liz,

    I am going to take my IElTS very soon, which will be my third take. I manage to achieve a band score 7.0 and above for all parts except the writing tasks. I really need a score of 7.0 in writing. Could you help me by briefly commenting on this essay of task 1?

    The charts below show what UK graduate and post graduate students who did not go into full-time work did after leaving college in 2008. (This question was taken from Cambridge English IELTS 10).

    The bar graphs illustrate information regarding the population of both graduate and postgraduate students in the UK who did not work full-time, with a further classification of four different engagements (part-time, voluntary work, further study and unemployment) that they pursue instead, after graduating from university in 2008.

    Overall, majority of the number of students show a similar trend in both groups (graduate and undergraduate) in terms of the four given career paths they have decided to continue after completing college in 2008. Most of these aspiring students chose to further their education. In contrast to this, voluntary work has not been very popular among these learners, which showed the least number.

    The first graph displayed a significant population of graduate students, which is also the highest, who decided to aim for a better educational attainment through further studies, which accounted by 29,665. Followed by this, are those who preferred to be employed part-time with a figure of 17,735, while the least number got themselves involved in doing voluntary work with a total of 3,500 people. Unfortunately, the remaining students were unemployed by the total of 16,235.

    The second graph shows that among the four activities chosen by postgraduates, the highest number of students went on to study for a higher degree reaching to 2,725 people. Second to this, are those who applied for a part-time job (2,535). The very least number participated in voluntary work and the remaining were unemployed with a population of 345 and 1,625 respectively.

    • I normally don’t have time to comment on writing but I will give you a quick comment. The content is all fine. The overview gives the key features and the body paragraphs give the detail. However, it is long. Could you really write this in 20 mins? Also try grouping information together in the body paragraphs “The number of postgraduates going on to part time work and further studies is almost the same (2,535 and 2,725 respectively)”. This way you avoid repetition of your sentences. Also if you look at the first chart, there is considerable difference between part time work and further studies which could be mentioned in the body.
      All the best

      • Lawrence says

        Thank you for the enlightening feedback. I will practice writing my essay a bit shorter. I hope the essay that I am going to write during the test is worthy of 7.0. Also I hope to avoid errors in using punctuations like comma.

        Kind Regards,

  44. Hi Liz,
    I practice Cambridge Ielts books for taking Ielts preparation. In some of the listening answer keys I found some answers like, ( standard of) teaching or (the) 2nd half. why are those words written within a bracket? will i loose my mark if i don’t write those words in the main anser sheet? or is it compulsory to mention those words? Reply me soon please. Thanks a lot for your great lessons. It’s helping me a lot. ^_^

    • Any words given in brackets are optional words for answers. If you see (the) 2nd half, it means that the answer can contain “the” or not contain “the”. Both are correct.

  45. Saurav Devkota says

    Hello mam.. I want to improvr my writing task 1 and task 2. My exam is on 8th aug. would you help me out.. thnk you..

  46. Anuradha says

    Hello mam,
    In IELTS examinatio, listening test, you hear the speaker saying 25th of the March and in that case what should i write in my answer, 25 March or 25th March? Are these both correct?

  47. hi madam ,
    i have doubt about listening test,does score varies if the answer for example is chocolates but if have written as chocolate .Is that will be correct or wrong answer.Please reply me as soon as possible.

  48. Thank you alot Liz for your help

  49. Hi mam thanks a lot …..i got 6 band in academic .i paid for essay but its not work due to some technical problems…what ever …thanks a lot mam

    • You must check that your streaming is strong enough by watching the preview video. Well done with your result.

  50. Falgun Sharma says

    Dear madam,

    In ielts examination particular in writing task 1 & 2, can I do underline of important words or linking words?

    Please reply as soon as possible.


    Falgun Sharma

    • I don’t understand your question. Why do you want to underline your own words? I have underlined useful words for students in these speaking models. Why do you want to underline your own words in your essay?

      • Falgun Sharma says


        Just to do easier for examiner, he or she ‘ll easily find out the important and linking words, which I hv used in my essay.

        • The examiner is trained to notice everything. They are professionally trained. You don’t need to underline anything.
          All the best

  51. Thank you dear Liz
    last but not least is also formal?

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