This means 2 things:
Firstly, your writing should flow from one idea to another idea, in a way that gradually unpacks your thinking. Usually this means moving from general statements to specific examples of what you mean. This makes it easy for your reader to understand your arguments.
Secondly, this flow of ideas should be helped by carefully selecting cohesive devices, such as connectives, relative pronouns and the “verb + ing” form. Cohesive devices are like ‘engine oil‘: in an engine, the oil helps all the parts of the engine move smoothly; in writing, cohesive devices help your writing to flow smoothly.
In a good piece of writing, cohesive devices also help the reader predict what might be coming next. For example if you saw the words “If I won the lottery…” you might expect the next chunk of writing to be about the result of winning the lottery: e.g. “…I would buy a new house for my parents.” If you saw the words “The government should close all coal-fired power stations…”, you would expect the next chunk of text to give you a reason: e.g. “…they contibute to global warming.”
So here is an activity for you. This activity will test your ability to create a paragraph that is both coherent and cohesive. (This is especially useful if you are aiming for a Band 8 for IELTS Writing Task 2).
In the column on the right are some chunks of text from a paragraph of writing about the importance of health care to a nation’s economy. The paragraph contains lots of ideas: for example, one idea is that some countries don’t spend enough on health care.
Try to put the chunks of text into the correct order.
- Look carefully at the ideas in the paragraph: the writer tends to move from general statements to more specific examples.
- Look at the cohesive devices to help you predict what might be coming next.
- To help you start, here is the first chunk of text: “It is often said that the wealth”
It’s a difficult task, so don’t worry if you make mistakes first time. Good luck!
I’ve adapted this activity from Sam McCarter‘s excellent book, Academic Writing Practice For IELTS, which I highly recommend.
Tell me how you did in the comments section. And if you think other people will find this activity useful, please share it.