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coherence writing

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coherence writing

The meaning of coherence is to stick things together. The elements of coherent writing, the words and the information they convey, are related to one another so that readers can follow the flow of thought easily from sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph. The problem with the term coherence is that it sounds static, as if coherent writing just sits there sticking together. Coherence in writing actually has a dynamic quality, because it has to do with movement: movement of information and ideas, movement of the reader's changing perceptions and knowledge.

Paragraph Coherence

The coherence is the element of a good paragraph. In order to have coherence in writing, the sentences must hold together i.e. the movement from one sentence to the next must be logical and smooth. There must be no sudden jumps. The following are four ways that you can establish coherence in your writing:

1. Repeating Nouns

One of the best ways to achieve coherence is to repeat key nouns frequently in your paragraph. This is an important thing to do as it helps the reader follow what you are saying.

2. Use of Consistent Pronouns

Pronoun use is important in your paragraph because it helps you to avoid repeating the same noun over and over again in your writing. However when you use pronouns instead of key nouns remember to use the same person and number throughout the paragraph. Do not change from you to he or she (change of person), or from he to they (change of number).

3. Transition Signals

Transition signals are words such as first, second, next, finally, therefore and however or phrases such as in conclusion, on the other hand and as a result. It is a good idea to think of transition signals as traffic signs that tell your reader when to go forward, turn, slow down and stop. In other words, they tell the reader when you are giving a similar idea (similarly, moreover, furthermore, in addition), an opposite idea (on the other hand, however, in contrast), an example (for example), a result (as a result), or a conclusion (in conclusion). Using transition words as a guide makes it easier for your reader to follow your ideas. Transition words give your paragraph coherence.

4. Logical Order

Logical order is an important element of paragraph writing. Of course which type of logical order you choose depends on your topic and your writing purpose. The important point to remember is to arrange your ideas in some kind of order that is logical to a reader familiar to the English way of writing. Some examples of logical order in English include chronological order, logical division of ideas and comparison/contrast. In some types of essay writing it is possible to combine many forms of logical order.

Sentence Coherence

To achieve cohesion, the link of one sentence to the next, keep the following techniques in your mind:

1. Repetition: In sentence B (the second of any two sentences), repeat a word from sentence A.

2. Synonymy: If direct repetition is too obvious, use a synonym of the word you wish to repeat. This strategy is call 'elegant variation.'

3. Antonymy: Using the "opposite" word, an antonym, can also create sentence cohesion, since in language antonyms actually share more elements of meaning than you might imagine.

4. Pro-forms: Use a pronoun, pro-verb, or another pro-form to make explicit reference back to a form mentioned earlier.

5. Collocation: Use a commonly paired or expected or highly probable word to connect one sentence to another.

6. Enumeration: Use overt markers of sequence to highlight the connection between ideas. This system has many advantages:

1) it can link ideas that are otherwise completely unconnected.

2) it looks formal and distinctive.

3) it promotes a second method of sentence cohesion.

7. Parallelism: Repeat a sentence structure. This technique is the oldest, most overlooked, but probably the most elegant method of creating cohesion.

8. Transitions: Use a conjunction or conjunctive adverb to link sentences with particular logical relationships.

1) Identity: Indicates sameness. "that is, that is to say, in other words, ..."

2) Opposition: Indicates a contrast. "but, yet, however, nevertheless, still, though, although, whereas, in contrast, rather, ..."

3) Addition: Indicates continuation. "and, too, also, furthermore, moreover, in addition, besides, in the same way, again, another, similarly, a similar, the same, ... "

4) Cause and effect: "therefore, so, consequently, as a consequence, thus, as a result, hence, it follows that, because, since, for, ..."

5) Indefinites: Indicates a logical connection of an unspecified type. "in fact, indeed, now, ..."

6) Concession: Indicates a willingness to consider the other side. "admittedly, I admit, true, I grant, of course, naturally, some believe, some people believe, it has been claimed that, once it was believed, there are those who would say, ..."

7) Exemplification: Indicates a shift from a more general or abstract idea to a more specific or concrete idea. "for example, for instance, after all, an illustration of, even, indeed, in fact, it is true, of course, specifically, to be specific, that is, to illustrate, truly, ..."

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