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Coherence and Cohesion: Ideas

December 7, 2015 by Mamta Bhatt

There are several ways to ensure a cohesive argument. Some are related to the ideas you have selected to discuss in your essay, others relate to grammatical references that help link those ideas to reasons, those reasons to examples, and that also help you avoid repetition.

Let’s take a look at one way to guarantee a coherent and cohesive essay.



You may have a lot of ideas to include in your essay, however, selecting the right ones will help you maximise your overall score. How do you know what ideas are best? There are a few simple guidelines.

First of all, a good idea is simple to explain. This means that a reason to justify it will also be simple to find, together with an example to illustrate it. Remember that if your English ability isn’t very strong, selecting an overly complicated idea will not help ensure clarity of language. Just think about it: a complex idea + complex Grammar and Vocabulary – any mistake will just make it confusing to whoever is reading it.

An example:

“Nowadays, more and more people are choosing to study online. However, it is clear that this method of leaning has far more downsides than benefits.”

To what extent do you agree?

Agree Disagree

People lack motivation Flexible

Less effective learning More cost effective

No social aspect More learning opportunities

There are several ways of looking at this argument but what you need to do is keep it simple. Choosing to debate people’s lack of motivation, for example, will generate a very weak hypothetical argument with no clear examples. However, choosing Flexibility as an idea can be easily supported: Flexibility – Work/Life/Study Balance – Working Moms. It is an easy argument to follow and has clear logic.

Step two is to make sure your ideas flow together. Let’s pretend to disagree with the task statement. As you know, we should support our own opinion in Body paragraphs 1 and 3, and discuss the opposite opinion in Body Paragraph 2. For example:

Order A: Flexible – No Social Aspect – More Cost Effective

Order B: Flexible – Less Effective Learning – More Leaning Opportunities

Order A is fine in theory. It follows the Disagree/Agree/Disagree argument we need. However, the ideas don’t naturally link to each other. Using Order B, we have automatic direct contrast between all three paragraphs. Starting with Flexibility, we can argue that although learning online can be flexible, it isn’t as effective. At the same time, this type of learning opens up a lot of opportunities for people all over the world to have access to quality education.

It all starts with Brainstorming. If you take the time to select ideas that are simple and link to each other in a natural way, you can dedicate more time to making the grammar and the vocab more complex.


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