Connectors, connectives or conjunctions (these terms can be used interchangeably) are one of the first things language learners are taught to move from simple to compound and complex sentences. Connectors are great and we are usually taught a list of them and encouraged to use them as much as possible.
However, once we get to a more advanced level as writing, such as that required in the OET writing task, we need to move to the next level and start to think in more in depth ways about how we use conjunctions rather than just choosing one and slotting it in the middle of any sentence.
In this article,
- we will look at the diﬀerent types of connectors that we need to use in the OET writing tasks; and
- give examples of how to best use them.
Remember, although conjunctions usually come in the middle of the sentence, they can also come at the start and very occasionally at the end. Their purpose, either way, is to link diﬀerent part of the sentence.
The two main groups of connectors and conjunctions are
- coordinating conjunctions
- subordinating conjunctions
These are our basic joining conjunctions. They simply link two clauses. They are used in the middle of a sentence.
These conjunctions are used to connect a dependent and independent clause. They can be used at the start or in the middle of the sentence.
E.g. before, after, although, how, once, since, when while, unless, in case
We can now look at some more specific purposes of conjunctions that we would use in OET writing.
Connectors for adding information
This is one of the most used type of connector or connecting phrase in OET writing and often used at the beginning of the sentence. Throughout the OET letter, you are providing more information about the patient, their history, treatment etc. so you will need to use quite a lot of these!
- Additionally, the patient had stopped taking contraceptive pills
- Moreover, Ms Watson has a history of substance abuse.
- Also, please ensure that that the patient complies with his medication.
- In addition to this, mild systolic murmur was heard.
Connectors for cause and effect
When one thing has happened because of another, you will need to use a causal connective. These are also quite common in OET writing to explain the cause of symptoms or impact of treatment for example.
- As a result of the physiotherapy, the patient’s back pain has significantly reduced.
- Therefore, a biliary ultrasound and LFTs were ordered.
- Antidepressants were prescribed due to the symptoms displayed.
- The examination revealed exudative tonsillitis with cervical lymphadenopathy; thus, oral penicillin was commenced.
Connectors for contrast
Contrasting connectors are used a lot in all sorts of writing and you will see plenty of them in referral letters too. For example, a medication may have been prescribed that was not successful, or some changes in the patient’s condition were observed but others were not.
- However, Murphy’s sign was negative
- Even though she was advised to make certain lifestyle modifications, she failed to do so.
- However, despite normal menstruation, she was still unable to conceive a year later
- Although her physical examination was unremarkable, she was crying and fidgety.
This is not an exhaustive list of the types of connectors that are necessary to use but if you try to include some of each category, this will really improve your writing. It is also worth noting that too many conjunctions in a sentence does not work and as a rule, we would want no more than two, or three maximum with a subordinating conjunction at the start.
There are lists of all the diﬀerent types of connectors online, so why not try to commit a few for each type to memory and have a go at including them in your OET letters and use our OET Writing Correction Service to find out if you are applying those accurately. Also, take a look at sample letters to see how they have been used and you will get the idea. Connectors really are key to professional writing and will have a dramatic impact on your OET writing scores.