Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Today you’ll learn 3 ways to use the word “therefore”!

This is an incredibly useful word on the IELTS exam.

You can use it as a high level linking word to boost your Cohesion/Coherence score!

All the linking words and phrases you need can be found in 3 Keys IELTS!

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One of our 3 Keys IELTS students posted this question:

I am wondering if it is incorrect to use a transitional word like “therefore” to start a new paragraph. I find myself doing this, especially in writing formal letters when I am trying to propose a solution to a problem mentioned in the previous paragraph.

  • Answer: “Therefore” should not be used to start paragraphs or sentences that stand alone.

It needs to be used as a transition word to show cause and effect between sentences or independent clauses.

Therefore has the same meaning as ‘regarding…’ and ‘as to…’

#1 As a connector for a compound sentence.

We discussed how to make compound sentences in IELTS Energy episode 857.

This was Part 1 of our grammar series.

Used this way, therefore is a conjunctive adverb.

This means it’s an adverb that works as a conjunction because it joins two clauses.

It’s the same type of adverb as “however,” “finally,” or “accordingly.”

Example: Portion sizes have increased exponentially over the years; therefore, individuals have no idea what a healthy amount of food actually looks like.

  • Punctuation: semicolon however comma

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#2 – As an introductory phrase/linking word

You need high level linking words to get a 7+ for Cohesion/Coherence.

This applies to both the Writing and Speaking exams!

Example: The streets in New York City are extremely congested. Therefore, many people use public transportation.

  • Punctuation: Must have a comma after therefore

#3 – As an interrupting phrase

Example: Nations, therefore, have a responsibility to provide for their citizens.

Example: The business that turned away clients was, therefore, within its rights.

Punctuation: must be surrounded by commas

Avoid this common mistake when using therefore!

Important note: Therefore is often the culprit of run-on sentences like this one:

The European Central Bank will not risk its own existence, therefore it does everything it can to uphold the Euro.

There are two ways to fix this error.

  • Make it a new sentence with therefore as an introductory phrase.

The European Central Bank will not risk its own existence. Therefore, it does everything it can to uphold the Euro.

  • Use a semicolon instead of the comma to join the 2 independent clauses.

The European Central Bank will not risk its own existence; therefore, it does everything it can to uphold the Euro.

Practice Exercises

Correct the following sentences!

  1. Wealthy nations have a duty to use their resources to help others therefore it is vital that they assist countries in need.
  2. Social media therefore is detrimental.
  3. As pollution becomes an ever-increasing problem, citizens are demanding change therefore cities are making efforts to regulate emissions.

Answers can be found in the comments.


“Therefore” is an extremely useful and versatile word!

You can use it to create high level grammar structures that are simple to use!

You don’t want to overcomplicate your sentences.

Focus on mastering simple, compound and complex sentences.

Using linking words like therefore will help you get the score you need!

For all the linking phrases you need and the strategies on how to use them, join the 3 Keys IELTS Success System!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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