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One of the criteria for assessing your IELTS essay is cohesion and coherence.

Coherence refers to the linking of ideas in a logical sequence or order. Cohesion refers to the organization of sentences and ideas in your essay working together as a whole within their paragraphs. They hold together by cohesive devices (transitional words and expressions). This makes it very easy for the reader to follow your presentation of information in the essay. They don’t get lost or confused. Did you write in clear paragraphs that are organized around central ideas? It’s like listening to a story that’s smooth and easy to follow.

Here are some useful transitional/linking words and phrases to use to show the different relationships between your ideas and sentences:


also, again, in addition, additionally, furthermore, further, moreover, as well as, what’s more, besides this/that,

CONTRAST (show two things are different):

on the other hand, however, despite this, conversely, in contrast, on the contrary, although, while, though, compared with, in comparison with, rather, whereas, but, instead of, in spite of, still, nevertheless, regardless, otherwise

COMPARE (show two things are similar/alike):

likewise, similarly, also, in the same way, in comparison to


first, second (etc.), to begin with, initially, at first, then, next, from there, and then, following this, finally, lastly


for example, for instance, a good example of this is, such as, to illustrate, in particular, particularly, namely, specifically


therefore, as a result, thus, so, consequently, admittedly, so that, depending on


indeed, certainly, in fact, of course, undoubtedly, plainly, obviously


if. . . then, unless, whether, provided that,


in summary, in conclusion, overall, in short, in brief, to sum up, in other words, all in all, to put it differently, to summarize, on the whole,


because, since, as, so, due to, owing to, the reason why

CONCESSION (accepting/acknowledging something is true):

granted, naturally, of course

This is not a complete list and of course, many words can link ideas in different ways depending on how they are used.

*NOTE: It’s important to not overuse so many linking words in your essays because it makes it even more difficult to read, rather than making it smooth and easy to read. So choose a few carefully when you write and make sure you don’t overuse these phrases.

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Mary Jane

Mary Jane Go has been teaching English for over 13 years. She believes that it is very important to learn English and learn it by heart. For her, it's always the right time for a dance party and that hanging out with friends is indispensable.

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