Writing in English with connectors (Part 1 of 4): justifying your opinion. Level B2 and C1.

This article will help you with FCE, CAE, IELTS and TOEFL.

Connectors are necessary to structure our writing so that readers can understand our thinking more easily. When used effectively, connectors can help you maximise your points in an official exam. Today, we are looking at listing your arguments to support your opinion.

Typically, you are required to state an opinion about a topic and give reasons why you hold that opinion. For example:

“Should people use more public transport instead of private cars?”

In this type of essay, you are expected to give your opinion although, in reality, your opinion is not important. What matters is WHY you have that opinion. What are the arguments that support your opinion? That is what the examiner is looking for. Whether you think that people should or should not use more public transport is irrelevant.

Given the limited time you have in an exam to write your essay, the magic number is THREE. You need to provide three reasons/arguments to justify your opinion. Connectors here are important.

Your answer could have this simple structure which you then develop into a full essay. You should spend the first few minutes drafting this basic structure with your three arguments.


I believe that people should use public transport more often.


Firstly, public transport is better for the environment.


Secondly, it is cheaper and fairer to use public transport.


Thirdly, trains and buses can be used even by young people who cannot drive.


In conclusion, I think we should all use public transport.”

This is your basic structure with 52 words. Now, you have to fill out each paragraph with more sentences to give more details and examples about your arguments. But you have the essence of your essay.

You can see that the simple use of a few connectors (firstly, secondly, thirdly, in conclusion) already gives the examiner a clear idea of the arguments that support your opinion. Even if you makes mistakes here and there, your thinking is very clear, so you will get points. The examiner is interested in the way you structure your thoughts, not just in grammar!

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