How To Use Cohesive Devices

In this post, we will look at how to use cohesive devices in your IELTS writing task 2 essay. Being able to include cohesive devices in your writing is important because it shows the examiner that you know how to use them effectively. This can increase your band score in the coherence and cohesion section.

Cohesive devices are also known as linking words and they are there to help the examiner to read through your essay clearly. Linking words are a great way to join your ideas together and make your sentences and your paragraph much more coherent.


Cohesive Devices

Below is a list of cohesive devices that you will use in your IELTS essays. In the IELTS exam, to reach a band 7 or above you need to be able to use a range of cohesive devices accurately.


Examples

In the writing task 2 marking criteria for a band score 7, it states - ‘ uses a range of cohesive devices appropriately although there may be some under-/over-use‘. This means that the student understands how to use the cohesive devices but is using too many (in nearly every sentence) or too few.

Many students who receive a band score 6 or lower, will have used far too many, making the writing sound mechanical and not like a native speaker. A high scoring answer of 8+ will contain a few but well placed cohesive devices as using them with precision and in the correct context counts for more than inserting as many as possible. 

Take a look at the examples below with the cohesive devices highlighted in bold >>

Bad Example

On the one hand, the main advantage of having a standardised punishment system could lead to a downward trend in crime, as the system would serve as a deterrent. Therefore, this would allow the courts to easily hand out justice to all criminals, in order to make the judiciary system more powerful. For example, in some states in the USA, there are tough sanctions in place for criminals, including death by lethal injection. However, in 2014, the New York Times reported that up to 65% of criminals who were incarcerated for high-level crimes (murder, manslaughter) received the lethal injection.
 

Good Example

On the one hand, the main advantage of having a standardised punishment system could lead to a downward trend in crime, as the system would serve as a deterrent. This would allow the courts to easily hand out justice to all criminals, in order to make the judiciary system more powerful. For example, in some states in the USA, there are tough sanctions in place for criminals, including death by lethal injection. In 2014, the New York Times reported that up to 65% of criminals who were incarcerated for high-level crimes (murder, manslaughter) received the lethal injection.


How Should I Use Them In My Essay?

Review sample essays and see how many are used in high-level answers. You will see that there are the same ones used in many sample essays time and time again. Learn a core few and use them during your writing practice. 

Take a look at this band 9 essay below and see how the cohesive devices have been used to introduce the reader to the paragraphs and to lead them through the essay effortlessly. The cohesive devices are highlighted in bold.

Essay Example >>

Question

In current society, many people are struggling with obesity. What is the main cause of this? What are the effects?

Answer

In many countries all over the world today, there are many people who are extremely overweight. This essay will firstly discuss the main reasons that this is happening and secondly look at the effects this is having on individuals and society.

Firstly, obesity is caused by many factors in modern society, including the easy availability of unhealthy food. When a bad diet is matched with a sedentary lifestyle, weight gain is inevitable, since eating large portions of food that is mainly processed, high in salt, sugar and filled with chemicals, the body gains weight fast. For example, a documentary by Channel 4 in 2016 showed that the most obese populations were situated in underdeveloped nations, like Venezuela, where people admitted to finding it difficult to eat a balanced and healthy diet and had no nutritional education.

Secondly, the effect that immense weight gain can have on a person, is that they will likely develop health issues, like diabetes or heart disease.  As the body becomes larger, the metabolism slows down, so that the body is more likely to get a chronic illness. This is impacting on health services around the world, as hospitals are seeing an increased demand to care for obese patients. For instance, The NHS in the UK has admitted to spending around 16 billion per year on obese related diseases like diabetes. UK newspaper The Telegraph reported in 2016 that more money is spent on treating obesity in the UK than on staffing the police force and fire service.  

In conclusion, obesity is being caused by easily available calorie-rich processed food and little exercise. The effects of this are impacting individuals health as well as the cost of national healthcare services. In order for obesity to be lessened, individuals should be educated about nutrition, furthermore, the governments should implement higher taxes on all junk food and sugar.


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