How to Use Cohesive Devices to Boost Your IELTS Score?

cohesive devices in english grammar

What are cohesive devices?

Cohesive devices are words that connect ideas together. These devices help us understand the relationships between the parts of sentences.

They may be nouns, verbs, prepositions, conjunctions, adverbs, or adjectives. Cohesive devices help you build sentences smoothly and correctly.

Cohesion can be described as a way to connect and hold together two or more different sentences into a single and whole sentence. It is something that allows us to understand sentences better. Cohesion is one of the three major parts of the English language. The other two parts are grammar and vocabulary.

The conjunctions, connectives, and pronouns used to connect the sections of a piece of writing are referred to as “cohesive devices.” These words or phrases show the relationship between paragraphs or sections of a text or speech.

Cohesive devices are words like ‘For example’, ‘In conclusion‘, ‘however‘, ‘moreover‘, ‘In conclusion‘, ‘and‘, ‘but‘, ‘they‘, and ‘this‘ etc.

Cohesive devices have two defining characteristics:

  • The first characteristic is that they connect words into an understandable structure. If they are not connected into an understandable structure, they are non-cohesive devices.
  • The second characteristic is that they provide a cohesive meaning with the other words around it. If they do not, then they are non-cohesive devices.

Types of Cohesive Devices

Cohesive devices are divided into three categories:

1. Pronouns

Cohesive devices include pronouns that refer back to a previously specified noun. This, that, these, those, he, she, it, they, and we are pronouns that can refer back to anything that has already been addressed. Make certain, though, that you are referring to something specific.

Example: Sandra went out to the playground. She played with her friends.

2. Synonyms

Synonyms are words that have nearly identical meanings. They add variety to your word selections, allowing the reader to focus on the topic.

Example: There was a lot of food in the pantry, but she only ate the apple for breakfast.

3. Transitional Words

Many words in English serve as cues to our readers about the relationships between phrases and how to join sentences together. Transition words and inter-clausal connectors are essential as cohesive devices.

Example: I like autumn, and yet autumn is a sad time of the year, too. 

There are several types of transitional words used for different situations.

A. Comparison and Contrast

Similarly by Compared with Meanwhile
In contrast on the other handhowever
ButNevertheless Whereas
Although YetInstead

B. Addition

AndAgain Also
Moreover Farther(more)Besides

C. Exemplification

For exampleSuch asFor instance
To illustrate Specifically To demonstrate
In this caseIn this situation As an illustration

D. Time and Sequence

First, second, thirdFirstly, Secondly After, afterwards
ThenNextAt first, at last
Finally BeforePreviously
SimultaneouslyIn the endSo forth

E. Conclusion and Result

ThereforeIn conclusion In brief
HenceTo sum upIn all
ThusAccordingly On the whole

F. Emphasize

Extremely Definitely Especially
Particularly IndeedAbsolutely
Certainly UnquestionablyMainly

G. Transition

Turning toWith regard toAs fas as
With reference to Concerned Identically

H. Reformulation

In other wordsRatherBriefly
In simple termsBasically To put it more simply

Using Cohesive Devices to Improve IELTS Band Scores

Cohesive devices play a vital role in improving coherence and cohesion in writing, ultimately leading to higher band scores. Let’s explore in more detail how each category of cohesive devices can be effectively utilized:

Reference Devices

Reference devices such as pronouns, determiners, and demonstratives help establish a connection between ideas and avoid repetitive word usage. By replacing nouns with pronouns or using suitable determiners, writers can ensure clarity and conciseness. For example:

“The company conducted extensive market research before launching their new product.”

Demonstratives, such as “this,” “that,” “these,” and “those,” are useful in highlighting specific objects or ideas. They help create a cohesive structure within a paragraph or an essay. For instance:

These findings highlight the importance of renewable energy sources in mitigating climate change.”

Synonyms, antonyms, or paraphrases further aid in cohesive writing by avoiding repetition. Using alternative words or phrases with similar meanings helps maintain variety and engagement. For example:

“The study revealed a significant decrease in pollution levels.”

Substitution Devices

Substitution devices allow writers to replace repetitive words and phrases with appropriate pronouns or nominalization techniques, improving the overall coherence and flow of the text. For instance:

“The government announced economic reforms. These have had a positive impact on the country’s GDP.”

“The article highlighted the importance of education in societal development.”

Conjunction Devices

Conjunction devices play a crucial role in connecting and organizing ideas within a text. Proper usage of coordinating conjunctions (such as “and,” “but,” and “or”), subordinating conjunctions (such as “since,” “because,” and “although”), and conjunctive adverbs (such as “however,” “moreover,” and “therefore”) ensures a coherent and cohesive structure. For example:

“She is dedicated to her studies but often struggles with time management.”

Although many people oppose the proposal, the government decided to implement it.”

Enhancing Speaking Skills with Cohesive Devices

Linking expressions and discourse markers:

Using linking expressions and discourse markers, such as “in addition,” “on the other hand,” or “accordingly,” can help create smoother transitions between ideas while speaking. These devices enhance coherence and guide listeners through the flow of the conversation.

Repetition and rephrasing:

Repeating key terms or rephrasing statements can help reinforce ideas and provide clarity in spoken communication. This technique ensures that the listener maintains a clear understanding of the speaker’s message.

Using cohesive devices for organizing ideas:

By incorporating cohesive devices, such as conjunctions or reference devices, individuals can effectively structure their thoughts while speaking. This helps in presenting ideas logically and coherently.


In conclusion, cohesive devices are important for English grammar because they help to connect ideas and thoughts together. They are used to link words, phrases, and clauses together, which helps to create a smooth, cohesive text. There are several different types of cohesive devices, and each one has its own unique purpose. By understanding how to use these devices correctly, you can improve the clarity and coherence of your writing.

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