University North Central Writing Center Handout
helps the reader see the relationships among sentences, paragraphs, or larger
segments of writing. Some kinds of
writing are coherent when they contain details that clearly support the writer's
argument, or when they provide general statements which clue the reader about
what to expect in a section of a piece. Other kinds of writing, such as narratives or personal
experience essays, are coherent when they follow a clear, chronological
sequence, or if they include only those details relevant to the tone or mood of
the essay or story.
Coherent relationships "beyond the
sentence" according to Ross Winterowd (1976)
-- and, furthermore, also
but, yet, however
ties" identified by Hassan & Halladay (1975):
linguistic features which indicate that one sentence or clause is
remitted to another.
basic types (not all possible categories)
Reference: I haven't finished grading the essays. They have been on my desk for several days.
By referring to a noun in another clause, the pronoun
they serves as a cohesive tie between the two clauses.
Substitution: I have finished grading the first set of essays, but I
haven't read the others.
In the second clause, the phrase “set of essays”
is omitted, and nothing is substituted for it.
Ellipsis: I have finished grading the first set of essays, but I have
not graded the second.
In the second clause, the phrase set of essays is
omitted and nothing is substituted for it.
Conjunction: I have graded the first set of essays, but I have not graded
The conjunction but indicated an adversative
relationship between the two clauses; other
conjunctions may indicate an additive relationship (in addition, moreover), a
causal relationship (because, consequently), or a temporal relationship (first,
Lexical Cohesion: I have not finished
grading my students' essays. I'm
afraid their papers will not be as good as I had hoped.
The repetition of a related word-- or in other
instances, the same word-- makes two clauses cohesive.
Halladay, M.A., and Hassan, R. Cohesion in English. London: Longman, 1976
Winterowd, Ross W. “The Grammar of Coherence.” In Contemporary Rhetoric: A Conceptual Background with Readings, ed. by W. Ross Winterowd. New York: Harcourt, 1975.