Cohesive Devices Essay


When sentences, ideas, and details fit together clearly, readers can follow along easily, and the writing is coherent. The ideas tie together smoothly and clearly. To establish the links that readers need, you can use the methods listed here. Note that good writers use a combination of these methods. Do not rely on and overuse any single method – especially transitional words.

Repetition of a Key Term or Phrase

This helps to focus your ideas and to keep your reader on track.

The problem with contemporary art is that it is not easily understood by most people. Contemporary art is deliberately abstract, and that means it leaves the viewer wondering what she is looking at.


Synonyms are words that have essentially the same meaning, and they provide some variety in your word choices, helping the reader to stay focused on the idea being discussed.

Myths narrate sacred histories and explain sacred origins. These traditional narratives are, in short, a set of beliefs that are a very real force in the lives of the people who tell them.


This, that, these, those, he, she, it, they, and we are useful pronouns for referring back to something previously mentioned. Be sure, however, that what you are referring to is clear.

When scientific experiments do not work out as expected, they are often considered failures until some other scientist tries them again. Those that work out better the second time around are the ones that promise the most rewards.

Transitional Words

There are many words in English that cue our readers to relationships between sentences, joining sentences together. See below for a table of transitional words.  There you'll find lists of words such as however, therefore, in addition, also, but, moreover, etc.

I like autumn, and yet autumn is a sad time of the year, too. The leaves turn bright shades of red and the weather is mild, but I can't help thinking ahead to the winter and the ice storms that will surely blow through here. In addition, that will be the season of chapped faces, too many layers of clothes to put on, and days when I'll have to shovel heaps of snow from my car's windshield.

Note that transitional words have meaning and are not just used at beginnings of sentences. They can also be used to show relationships between different parts of the same sentence. As mentioned above they cue readers to relationships between sentences/clauses. If you use the wrong transitional word then you confuse your reader. It would be better if you didn’t use any transitional word rather than the wrong one. Furthermore you do not need a transitional word at the beginning of each sentence. Good writers rarely use them as they achieve coherence by using other techniques. Many students overuse transitional words. Your instructor will guide you as to what problems you may have with transitions.

Sentence Patterns

Sometimes, repeated or parallel sentence patterns can help the reader follow along and keep ideas tied together.

Example: (from a speech by President John F. Kennedy)

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.

Much of the above information was obtained from Purdue University. Details below.
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Copyright ©1995-2002 by OWL at Purdue University and Purdue University. All rights reserved.

Transitional Words

Copyright - © 2002 David O'Regan - All rights reserved.

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Linking structures

Using a wide range of vocabulary will help you to gain higher score at IELTS.

Don't fear: you don't have to learn all of these phrases. Just choose a few that you like and practice using them in your writing.

See also Vocabulary to describe graphs.

ListingGiving examplesGeneralising
firstly, secondly, thirdlyfor examplein general
first, furthermore, finallyfor instancegenerally
to begin, to concludeas follows:on the whole
nextthat isas a rule
Reinforcementin this casefor the most part
alsonamelyin most cases
furthermorein other wordsusually
what is moresoin particular
in additionthereforeparticularly
besidesas a result/consequenceespecially
above allaccordinglymainly
as well (as)consequentlyReformulation
in the same waybecause of this/thatin other words
not only ... but alsothusrather
Similarityhenceto put it more simply
equallyfor this/that reasonExpressing an alternative
likewiseso thatalternatively
similarlyin that caserather
correspondinglyunder these circumstanceson the other hand
in the same wayDeductionthe alternative is
Transition to new pointthenanother possibility would be
now,in other wordsContrast
as far as x is concernedin that caseinstead
with regard/reference tootherwiseconversely
as for ...this implies that ...on the contrary
it follows thatif so/notin contrast
turning toStating the obviousin comparison
SummaryobviouslyConcession (smth unexpected)
in conclusionclearlyeven though
to concludenaturallyhowever
in briefof coursehowever much
to summariseas can be expectednevertheless
thereforeafter allyet


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