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02/12/12

Cohesiv e Dev ices

Coherence
When sentences, ideas, and details fit together clearly, readers can follow along easily, and the writing is coherent. The ideas tie together smoothly and clearly. To establish the links that readers need, you can use the methods listed here. Note that good writers use a combination of these methods. Do not rely on and overuse any single method – especially transitional words.

Repetition of a Key Term or Phrase
This helps to focus your ideas and to keep your reader on track. Example: The problem with contemporary art is that it is not easily understood by most people. Contemporary art is deliberately abstract, and that means it leaves the viewer wondering what she is looking at.

Synonyms
Synonyms are words that have essentially the same meaning, and they provide some variety in your word choices, helping the reader to stay focused on the idea being discussed. Example: Myths narrate sacred histories and explain sacred origins. These traditional narratives are, in short, a set of beliefs that are a very real force in the lives of the people who tell them.

Pronouns
This, that, these, those, he, she, it, they, and we are useful pronouns for referring back to something previously mentioned. Be sure, however, that what you are referring to is clear. Example: When scientific experiments do not work out as expected, they are often considered failures until some other scientist tries them again. Those that work out better the second time around are the ones that promise the most rewards.

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Cohesiv e Dev ices

Transitional Words
There are many words in English that cue our readers to relationships between sentences, joining sentences together. See below for a table of transitional words. There you'll find lists of words such as however, therefore, in addition, also, but, moreover, etc. Example: I like autumn, and yet autumn is a sad time of the year, too. The leaves turn bright shades of red and the weather is mild, but I can't help thinking ahead to the winter and the ice storms that will surely blow through here. In addition, that will be the season of chapped faces, too many layers of clothes to put on, and days when I'll have to shovel heaps of snow from my car's windshield.

Note that transitional words have meaning and are not just used at beginnings of sentences. They can also be used to show relationships between different parts of the same sentence. As mentioned above they cue readers to relationships between sentences/clauses. If you use the wrong transitional word then you confuse your reader. It would be better if you didn’t use any transitional word rather than the wrong one. Furthermore you do not need a transitional word at the beginning of each sentence. Good writers rarely use them as they achieve coherence by using other techniques. Many students overuse transitional words. Your instructor will guide you as to what problems you may have with transitions.

Sentence Patterns
Sometimes, repeated or parallel sentence patterns can help the reader follow along and keep ideas tied together. Example: (from a speech by President John F. Kennedy) And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country. Much of the abov e inf ormation was obtained f rom Purdue Univ ersity . Details below. This page is located at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/print/general/gl_cohere.html Copy right ©1995-2002 by OWL at Purdue Univ ersity and Purdue Univ ersity . All rights reserv ed.

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Transitional Words
Addition
again also and and then besides equally further(more) in addition (to...) indeed next in fact moreover too what is more finally

Comparison
compared with in comparison with in the same way/manner similarly likewise again also

Contrast
besides but however in contrast...
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