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Signpost expression is something you must have heard of quite a few times before entering an IELTS test, so what exactly is it and why is it so important to IELTS Listening? 

Signposting language is the words and phrases that people use in order to guide the listener coherently through what is being said. 

It is used to make clear what has just happened, and what is going to happen next. 

So in other words, it acts as a guide so the listener can follow what you are saying.

Why is this important for IELTS?

In section 4 of the listening you have to listen to a talk in an academic setting, such as a university.

It is usually a lecture by a professor, a presentation by a student, or a talk by a university staff member. So it is possible that signposting will be used within this.

This lesson is designed to help you with Section 4 IELTS listenings that are a lecture, though the language for a presentation or talk may be the same or similar.

If you know the type of language that is used to guide you, it will help you to follow the lecture.

This is particuarly important if your listening skills are weaker than they should be because you will easily get lost if you don't know where you are.

Examples of Lecture Signposting Language

This table sets out some of the key language that guides you on the overall topic and content of the lecture, and when different sections of the lecture are being discussed.

The table includes the signposting language to signal the end of the talk. However you are every unlikly to hear this used in IELTS because as section 4 of the listening is only around 4-5 minutes, you only usually hear the first part of the lecture or presentation.

Remember there are lots of different ways to say these things, so what you hear could be phrased slightly differently.

Signposting Examples


PurposeSignpost Language
Introducing the topic of the lecture
  • Today we are going to talk about…
  • The topic of today’s lecture is…
  • This morning we are going to take a look at…
  • Today I’ll be talking about / discussing...
  • What I’m going to be talking about today is…
  • The purpose of today’s lecture is…
  • The subject/topic of my talk is ...
Explaining the lecture structure (sections / subtopics)
  • In today’s lecture I’m going to cover three points.
  • I’m going to divide this talk into three parts.
  • First we’ll look at….. Then we’ll go on to … And finally I’ll…
Introducing the first section / subtopic  or first of a list of points
  • Let’s start by talking about...
  • To begin,…
  • Firstly,…
  • I’ll start with,…
  • The first advantage / reason / cause etc. is...
Finishing a section
  • We've looked at...
  • I’ve talked about….
Starting a new section
  • Let’s move on to…
  • Now, let’s turn to…
  • And I’d now like to talk about…
  • The next / second …
  • I'd like now to discuss...
  • The next issue/topic/area I’d like to focus on …

To signal the end of the talk / Summing up

  • To sum up, …
  • So it is clear from what we have discussed today that…
  • I'd like now to recap...
  • Let's summarise briefly what we've looked at... 
  • In conclusion, …
  • To summarise, …
  • In summary, …
  • Overall, …
  • The three main points are … 



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