Literary Learning: Examples of Cohesive Devices


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Cohesive devices are transitional words or phrases that tie together logical ideas in a written work. Cohesive devices serve as a road map for the reader to understand ideas or the purpose of the writing.

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Why Use Cohesive Devices?
The use of cohesive devices in writing makes it easier for the reader to understand the topic and sends signals in relation to important information. Cohesive devices can make information clearer, easier and more succinct to read and understand. Cohesive devices can be used to emphasize the main ideas in research papers and to add reference in comparison reviews. These devices can also be used for comparison, addition, sequencing, exemplification, qualification, reformulation, highlighting and transitions, according to the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Examples of Cohesive Devices
Cohesive devices include the use of repetition, synonyms, pronouns, sentence patterns and transitional words. Repetition keeps the reader focused on the highlighted topics and makes it easy to follow complex ideas in written works that involve deep understanding. Synonyms are another way to keep the reader focused, and they help to diversify the writing so that the reader maintains interested. Cohesive pronouns include words such as "this," "that," "those" and "these" along with gender pronouns such as "he," "she" and "they." When using cohesive pronouns, it is important to be clear on what is being referred to. Sentence patterns help the reader tie main ideas together and often work to emphasize the most important points in a written piece. Sentence patterns make units of information easier to remember, according to a study done by Cornell University. Transitional words, such as "however," "therefore," "in addition," "but" and "also," are used to show connections between sentences and ideas.

Cohesive Conjunctions
Cohesive devices also include three types of conjunctions: coordinating, subordinating and correlative. They make writing easier for readers to comprehend. Use coordinating conjunctions, such as "and," "but," "for" and "so," to tie two separate clauses together. Use subordinating conjunctions, including "although," "after," "because," "while" and "which," to indicate the start of a dependent clause. In writing, correlative conjunctions, such as "either" and "or," demonstrate equality of ideas when used together in the same clause. Conjunctions are essential for connecting ideas and can be used to develop deeper understanding through comparison and contrast.

How to Use Cohesive Devices Effectively
Employing a variety of cohesive devices can make written works flow better and keep them easier for readers to understand. Try to blend several types of cohesive devices to make the main topics clear and straightforward without becoming repetitive. If using a subordinating conjunction at the beginning of a sentence, make sure to add a comma following the adverbial phrase. It is also important to understand each cohesive device before using it and to employ it throughout the writing process only when necessary or to provide additional clarity of the topic. One way to get more familiar with the proper use of cohesive devices is to simply read more books, according to the IELTS. Spend about 20 minutes every day reading and identifying cohesive devices. This will give a feel for how often these devices are used and which ways they can be most effective.

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