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Mastering Coherence and Cohesion: Key Strategies for Excelling in the IELTS Writing Section

Achieving a high score in the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) examination is essential for individuals seeking to study, work, or migrate to English-speaking countries. While proficiency in vocabulary and grammar is crucial, the importance of coherence and cohesion in these exams should not be underestimated.

Coherence and cohesion play a crucial role in the IELTS writing section, impacting the overall quality and scoring of your essay. In both IELTS Task 1 and Task 2, coherence ensures a logical presentation of information and a well-organized argument or discussion.

Writing Task 1:

In Academic IELTS Task 1, coherence involves presenting information in a logical sequence, ensuring that the key features are highlighted and trends are described clearly. Cohesion, in this context, is crucial for connecting sentences within your description or summary, creating a well-structured and easy-to-follow response.

Writing Task 2 (Both Academic and General Training):

For both Academic and General Training IELTS Task 2 essays, coherence is essential for developing a well-organized argument or discussion. It ensures that your ideas are presented in a logical order and that your essay flows smoothly. Cohesion, on the other hand, involves using cohesive devices such as linking words, pronouns, and transitional phrases to connect sentences and paragraphs, creating a cohesive and unified piece of writing.

Let’s understand this with an example:

Coherence: Crafting a Clear Storyline

Essay Topic: Importance of Cleanliness

Incoherent Version: Personal hygiene is crucial. The environment should be clean too. Public health benefits
from cleanliness.

Coherent Version: Beginning with personal hygiene, one must maintain cleanliness on an individual level.
Extending this responsibility to the surroundings ensures a clean environment. The ultimate payoff is a healthier
public community.

Cohesion: Using Connectors for Smooth Reading

Essay Topic: Impact of Technology on Education

Lack of Cohesion: Technology has changed education. It has many positive aspects. However, it also has some
negative effects.

Cohesive Version: Technology has revolutionized education, enhancing accessibility and collaboration.
Furthermore, it facilitates personalized learning experiences. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge the potential
drawbacks, such as increased screen time and reduced face-to-face interaction.

Coherence Vs Cohesion:

Aspect Cohesion Coherence
Creating connections between sentences and paragraphs
Ensuring a logical and clear flow of ideas throughout the essay.
Internal connectivity within paragraphs and sentences
Overall essay structure and logical progression of ideas.
Achieving unity and smooth flow within smaller sections.
Making the entire essay easy to follow and understand.
Example Words
Furthermore, Moreover, However, Additionally, Therefore.
Firstly, Secondly, Consequently, In conclusion.

Key differences:

Key Differences Cohesion Coherence
Telling a Story vs. Linking Sentences
Focuses on using words to link sentences within each paragraph.
Ensures your whole essay tells a clear and logical story.
Big Picture vs. Small Details
Zoom in to see how your sentences connect within each small section.
Looks at the overall flow of your ideas in the entire essay.
Making Sense vs. Sticking Together
Use specific words to keep your sentences fitting together smoothly.
Is about making sure your ideas fit together logically.

Phrases for cohesion and coherence enhancement:

Purpose Example Phrases for Cohesion Phrases for Coherence Enhancement
Adding Similar Ideas
Additionally, Moreover, Furthermore, In addition.
Contrasting Ideas
On the other hand, However, Nevertheless, Conversely.
Sequencing Ideas
Firstly, Secondly, Next, Finally.
In the first place, To begin with, Initially, First and foremost.
Emphasizing a Point
Importantly, Notably, Clearly, Significantly.
Providing Examples
For instance, For example, Such as.
In conclusion, To sum up, Overall, In summary.
Giving Reasons
Due to, Owing to, Because of, Since.
Comparing Ideas
Similarly, Likewise, In comparison, In a similar fashion.
Introducing Ideas
In the first place, To begin with, Initially, First and foremost.
Adding Information
Additionally, Moreover, Furthermore, In addition.
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