Signpost Language in IELTS

How often do we see signs on a daily basis? Let it be on the way to work, near parking, or in a department store.

Let’s consider signs on the way to work, near parking, or in a department store. Signs are very useful for us as they help us from getting lost, prevent us from danger, or find the things quickly which we are looking for. Similarly, signpost language is a word or phrase that helps to articulate the structure of a piece of writing, speaking, or listening to ensure the readers don’t get lost. It also helps the listener or reader what has just happened and what is going to happen next.

Here are some examples of helpful signpost language
In the lecture today, we are going to look at the nuclear fusion reaction….This signpost states the subject of the topic.

This article examines the importance of signposting language….This signpost states the focus of the article.

My purpose in focusing on the drawback of self-driving cars…..This signpost clarifies the side in which the author is going to narrate about.

Now, let’s turn to the…..This signpost provides the signal to the listener or writer that they are moving to a new topic.

Single words and short phrase can also be used as signposting language such as:

For instance….This signpost can be used when you want to introduce an example.

Similarly….This signpost can be used when you want to make a comparison.

Additionally….This signpost can be used when you want to add more sentence to clarify your topic.

However….This signpost can be used to discuss the other side of an argument.

Signpost can be effective when you want to direct your argument for example firstly, secondly, finally, then, next and so on. Signpost language can be very useful if you want to improve your communication skills or if you want people to listen to you when you speak. More importantly, use signpost language in writing and speaking to get a higher score in IELTS exam.

Useful signpost phrases for writing task 1:
Introducing the topic

    The graph shows… / The table reveals…
    The chart displays… / The diagram illustrates…
    Some interesting facts concerning… are revealed in the diagram.
    Several key trends are revealed by the graph showing…

Introducing the first set of data

    Beginning with the…
    To begin with the…
    Let me begin by describing the…

Introducing the second set of data

    Meanwhile, the…  shows that…
    As for the… , it shows that…
    Turning to the… , it can be seen that…

Introducing the first major trend

    First of all, it is clear that…
    Most noticeably of all, it can be seen that…
    The first result worth pointing out is that…

Introducing lesser trends

    Another trend that can be observed is that…
    It is also worth pointing out that…
    Also worth noting is that…

Exceptions to the main trend

    However, this was not always the case.
    However, it should be pointed out that…
    There was one noticeable exception, however.

Comparing and contrasting

    Similarly, … / By contrast, …
    A similar trend can be observed in…
    The results for… , however, reveal a markedly different trend.

Adding figures

    The figures were X and Y respectively.
    …, at X. / …, with Y. (Usage note: use ‘at’ when you mean ‘the figure was’; use ‘with’ when you mean ‘something had’)
    …, at/with X and Y respectively.

Concluding and summarising

    To sum up, … / In summary, … / In short, …
    Overall, … / On the whole, …
    The main thing that can be observed here is that…

Signpost phrases for writing task 2
Introducing an example:

    For instance
    For example
    In this case
    In particular

Providing extra information:

    In addition
    Not only…but..
    What is more

Suggesting a result:

    In consequence
    As a result

To prove something:

    For this reason
    Due to this
    Because of this

Introducing a contrast/show an exception:

    Whereas (one thing…),
    In contrast
    Despite this,…
    Even though
    On the one hand…; on the other hand…

To emphasize something:


To order your ideas:

    In the first instance
    In general

To finish your essay

    In conclusion
    To summarise
    To conclude