Coherence and Cohesion in IELTS Writing

IELTS Writing: Coherence and Cohesion Criteria


In this blog post, I have tried to explain the concept of coherence and cohesion. I think they are two inter-related aspects of writing and should always be considered together.

What do you mean by Coherence?

Coherence is the logical arrangement of your ideas. All ideas should be logically arranged and one key point should inevitably follow its explanation. That is what makes a good paragraph.

Usually, students tend to write too many ideas in a single paragraph and that often results in a incoherent paragraph. Those ideas are not fully developed. IELTS Writing test assesses candidate’s ability to represent ideas in a logical manner. So, this matters a lot.

What can be done to improve Coherence?

What is coherence?


Basically, you need to include vital information in every paragraph. First of all, you need to have a clear idea of your essay structure. How many paragraphs you’re going to write and how they will link with each other.

1. Introduction

2. Arguments in favour of your opinion

3. Arguments against your opinion

4. Conclusion

The above structure is just an example. You can have your own structure for the paragraph. Later on you can build your paragraph level coherence with the following points.

1. Make the topic sentence clear and concise.

Very often, the first sentence of the paragraph clearly states what is mentioned in the whole paragraph. This sentence is called a topic sentence. This sentence needs to be simple and short. If your topic sentence is too long, it means that you’re trying to add too much information into your paragraph. Edit and again assess it.

2. Don’t use too many points in a paragraph.

Include only one or at most two information in a paragraph. This arrangement allows you to develop your topic fully and thus, you can represent your point of view more clearly.

3. Include examples

Examples are very informative and they clearly relate to the topic. This makes reader understand the theme quite easily. So, use examples to explain your point clearly.

4. Summarise the whole paragraph.

Don’t forget to summarise your paragraph with a short sentence or a result. Never leave your paragraph in an awkward position.

5. Use punctuations precisely

Students often underestimate the importance of punctuation marks. But believe me, they are as important as grammar. They make every sentence clear. Without proper punctuation marks, the examiner will find it extremely difficult to follow your line of thoughts.

What is cohesion?

Cohesion is basically the interconnection of two different sentences. How these sentences are related to each other that is called cohesion.

Cohesion - connecting ideas

Image by BrightHubPm

How to make your essay cohesive?

1. Use connectors/linkers

Candidates forget to put a simple linker which may be necessary. When you’re writing, you simply know your thoughts but when the examiner reads, he is not aware of your idea. He will find it difficult to follow your ideas without linkers.

Linkers like for example, in addition to this, to my mind, etc. are some of the cohesive devices used in writing.

2. Use pronouns

You can definitely use pronouns to avoid repetition of abstract noun. Repeating a name would seem awkward and therefore may fetch you lower bands. For this, you can use pronouns like this, that, it, they, etc.

For example,

Children are very playful. Children love spending time outdoors with their friends. Children also watch movies quite often and that also helps develop their personality.

The above sentences can be converted as below:

Children are very playful and they love spending time outdoors with their friends. They also watch movies quite often and certainly that helps develop their personality.

3. Use synonyms

To avoid repetition, a candidate can definitely use synonyms or different grammatical structures with various forms of a word. For example verb can be converted into adjective or noun and so on.

So, this is how your writing task coherence and cohesion is marked. You need to know all these to focus on your weakness. So, prepare well and get your required results.

All the best.


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