Cohesion is revising to make sure that your words, ideas, and paragraphs fit together. Without cohesive sentences, readers feel like they are reading a long list of unrelated ideas. They often have trouble remembering what you said.
They also have trouble understanding how these ideas connect to one another, which may mean that they don’t understand the main point in your essay. When your writing is not cohesive, it’s very difficult to be an effective communicator.
- Group similar ideas together
- Constantly refer back to the thesis or main idea
- Use a well-defined structure that is easy for the reader to follow
Incorporating these connecting words and phrases into your essays will help the reader understand how your sentences and ideas relate to one another:
- as a result
- at any rate
- at the same time
- by the way
- even so
- for example
- in addition
- in fact
- in other words
- on the contrary
- on the other hand
Using this phrases and coordinating conjunctions (and, so, yet, but, or, for) will ensure that your reader can follow your meaning, and trust your voice as a writer.
5 Ways To Improve The Cohesiveness Of Your Writing:
- Check the first sentence in each paragraph. Ask yourself: does this sentence explain the connection between the ideas in the previous paragraph and the ideas that I’m about to discuss?
Example: Let’s say that I’m writing a paper about the personalities of different household pets. If my first paragraph is about cats and my second paragraph is about dogs, I can make my writing more cohesive by beginning the 2nd paragraph with the following statement: “While cats tend to be moody and self-centered, dogs are usually cheerful and aim to please their owners.”
Example: Instead of using two disjointed, short sentences like “She ran outside. Her shoe fell off,” I might make the sentences more cohesive
by emphasizing a connection. I’d change it to: She ran outside so quickly that her shoe fell off.
Example: If the purpose of my essay is to argue that the death penalty should not be used in the U.S. I’ll want to make sure that each of my paragraphs helps defend my opinion. Rather than beginning a paragraph about innocent people being mistakenly executed using this system with the vague words “Innocent people in the U.S. are dying every day” I’d make my writing more cohesive and remind the reader of my main purpose by saying “The death penalty system allows our country to take away innocent lives, therefore it should not be used as a form of punishment.”
Example: If my paper is about the effects of global warming, I’ll want to avoid sentences like this: “There are several harmful effects on our environment like global warming and people not cleaning up their garbage.” That sentence is confusing because it drags on too long and does not emphasize any particular main point; it also mentions garbage, which doesn’t really relate to what I’m talking about at all. It would be better to change the sentence to: “Global warming is the most dangerous environmental problem that we must face.”
Example: If my thesis statement reads, “The best way to learn to drive is to practice in a vacant parking lot,” then throughout my essay I might use statements like: “Practicing in a large, open space is also helpful because…” or “Learning to drive on the road will cause a lot more anxiety than practicing in a less cluttered space because…”