Writing Task 1 – Sequencing for Process Diagrams


Words used for ordering time sequences

Filed under: Improving English language skills — rliberni @ 4:08 pm

When writing and speaking in formal situations it is important to demonstrate versatility in our use of language. If we use a restricted range of vocabulary and structures our results will be repetitive and boring.

A useful exercise to do in an idle moment is to select a word and then find a handful of synonyms to use instead of that word – make sure you know how to use them correctly!

One group of words that can help us demonstrate variety in our language are sequencing words. You will recognise these as the words used to begin paragraphs in writing but they are also very useful in giving presentations or speaking in meetings or other formal situations.

Having a selection of these at our fingertips helps us to keep our speaking and writing interesting and keep the attention of our audience.

In exam writing it is essential not to overwork the same phrases!

Sequencing words

• Initially
• At first
• To start with
• First of all
• Firstly
• To begin with
• In the beginning

• Secondly
• thirdly
• later
• then
• afterwards
• at this point
• meanwhile
• next
• after that
• subsequently
• later on
• during this time

• Finally
• Eventually
• In time
• In the end
• Ultimately
• Lastly


Sequencing phrases

First of all, the beans must be dried.

The first step (in making coffee) is to dry the beans.

The next/final stage (in the coffee-making process) is drying the beans.

The process (of making coffee) starts/begins with drying the beans.

After this, the beans are dried.

After/Once the beans have been harvested, they are dried.


Verb forms

Imperative – First, harvest the beans and then dry them

Present simple active – The workers dry the beans

Present simple passive – The beans are then dried

Present perfect passive – After the beans have been harvested, they are dried

Passive modal verbs – The beans must be dried

is + to + infinitive – The next step is to dry the beans


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