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Cohesion

  • Date Submitted: 06/01/2011 11:31 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 58.2 
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Cohesion and Coherence
An awareness of cohesion and coherence in all texts is a very important skill for students to develop.

Cohesion can be thought of as all the grammatical and lexical links that link one part of a text to another. This includes use of synonyms, lexical sets, pronouns, verb tenses, time references, grammatical reference, etc. For example, 'it', 'neither' and 'this' all refer to an idea previously mentioned. 'First of all', 'then' and 'after that' help to sequence a text. 'However', 'in addition' and 'for instance' link ideas and arguments in a text.

Coherence can be thought of as how meanings and sequences of ideas relate to each other. Typical examples would be general> particular; statement> example; problem> solution; question> answer; claim> counter-claim.

What does cohesion mean?
You might think of cohesion as a means of establishing connections within a text at all sorts of different levels, e.g., section, paragraphs, sentences and even phrases.

How is cohesion different from coherence? It is difficult to separate the two. However, think of coherence as the text making sense as a whole at an ideas level, and cohesion as rather more mechanical links at a language level. You can imagine that it is possible for a piece of writing to contain plenty of cohesion yet little coherence.

Cohesion is the glue that holds a piece of writing together. In other words, if a paper is cohesive, it sticks together from sentence to sentence and from paragraph to paragraph. Cohesive devices certainly include transitional words and phrases, such as therefore, furthermore, or for instance, that clarify for readers the relationships among ideas in a piece of writing. However, transitions aren't enough to make writing cohesive. Repetition of key words and use of reference words are also needed for cohesion.

Coherence

When sentences, ideas, and details fit together clearly, readers can follow along easily, and the writing is coherent. The...

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