Are you worried about how to use sentence connectors in your OET letter?
Sentence connectors are an important tool for writing proficiently in English. Their purpose is to join information together within a sentence. By using them, the writer adds additional useful detail to the sentence. They can be used to perform many different functions in the sentence.
- some connectors add emphasis to the main idea, (clearly, significantly, notably)
- some will define the time frame more clearly, (subsequently, finally)
- some show contrast between two ideas, (however, despite)
- and others show cause and effect. (therefore, consequently)
Connectors are sometimes used to start a sentence, while at other times they can be placed in the middle position of a sentence.
Using connectors correctly will help ensure that the meaning of your sentences is clear for readers to understand.
Sentence connectors in healthcare letters
When writing a formal healthcare letter, it is important to choose the right connector as this sets a professional tone of your writing. There are often several possible connectors which can convey the same meaning, but some are more suitable for the OET writing context.
Candidates are sometimes confused about the best ones to use. Making the right choice can help to achieve a high score in the Genre and Style marking criteria of your Writing test. Take a look at the OET Writing Guide for detailed explanations and tips on each criteria.
Let’s look at some more examples of connectors:
- Simple connectors (also called conjunctions): and, but, or, later, as, too, because.
- Complex connectors: however, therefore, although, unless, subsequently, additionally, otherwise.
Here are some common questions to help clarify your concerns about using sentence connectors:
Can I use simple connectors?
Candidates are encouraged to write in a natural way. This includes demonstrating use of both simple and complex connectors. You will be scored according to your range of vocabulary and your ability to show that you can strike a balance between formal professional written language and concise, direct phrasing, which is easy for the reader to understand. Choose the best language that fits for clarity.
Can I use any connector to start a new sentence?
We do not recommend beginning a new sentence with some simple connectors, such as:
- also, so, and, but
These are fine to include in the middle of the sentence, but choose a more formal alternative for the start of your sentence, such as:
- Additionally, Therefore, However
What connectors should I avoid?
Remember, writing a healthcare care letter to another healthcare professional is not the same as writing an essay task or academic report. Some candidates make the mistake of using the same connectors as they did for academic tasks at school or university. These may be less appropriate in the context of OET.
Some connectors are less suitable for healthcare letter writing. These include:
- Academic connectors: furthermore, moreover
- Informal connectors: besides, meanwhile, apart from that, later on
- Outdated connectors: hence, thus, thereafter
How many connectors should I try and use in my OET letter to get the maximum score?
The assessors do not count the number of connectors you include in your letter, and simply using a lot of connectors will not boost your score. Instead, the whole range of your vocabulary is being assessed to see if your sentences are clear, concise and your ideas are well linked together with appropriate choice of language.
Connectors, when used correctly, play an important role in your sentence structure. Use them as a tool for professional communication to your reader but see our top tip below to only use a connector when it is needed.
Tip: Don’t use a connector if it doesn’t add any value to the sentence.
If you can remove the connector and the sentence still makes sense, then you are using a connector when one isn’t needed. Avoid this in OET when it is important to write efficiently without words the reader does not need.
- Considering the above,/Given the above/In light of the situation, Mrs Jones will need to attend a follow-up appointment in 3 days’ time.
Instead, you could simply write:
- Mrs Jones will need to attend a follow-up appointment in 3 days’ time.
Familiarise yourself with the Writing sub-test assessment criteria so you know exactly how Writing is assessed.
Quiz: Try our quick quiz below to practice using sentence connectors in a healthcare context.
Here are some examples of sentences from an OET referral letter. The connector words and phrases which are bolded are inappropriate in style. Choose the right alternative from this list to make a better sentence: Otherwise / subsequently / therefore / although / due to / In addition.
Hint: You may need to change the wording to make the grammar accurate.
- Mrs Smith was admitted to hospital because she fell down the stairs at home.
- Mr X has been diagnosed with hypertension. Hence, he has been prescribed Metformin, 500 mg daily.
- On review today, his blood pressure was slightly elevated. Apart from that, his other vital signs were normal.
- Mr X was treated with pain relief and discharged home. Later on, he was re-admitted to hospital complaining
of a severe headache and nausea.
- He requires a wheelie-walker for support. As well as this, please provide daily visits from a home care nurse.
SINCE and AS – Can I use these connectors in my OET Writing?
You can use 'since' or ‘as’ when it is appropriate for the sentence you are writing. There may also be other more formal and concise alternatives to consider.
In these two sentences, you could change the connector to improve the formal writing style. For example:
1. Mrs Thompson will require assistance with personal care since she does not have full range of motion in her shoulder yet.
= Mrs Thompson will require assistance with personal care due to the limited range of movement in her shoulder.
2. She was brought to the hospital by ambulance as she fell off her bicycle in the street.
= She was brought to hospital by ambulance following a fall from her bicycle.
How can I find more examples of appropriate connectors?
Check out our sample letters on the website. There are examples of model healthcare letters for all 12 healthcare professions. You will see appropriate connectors used in all of these.