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The Writer’s Reference Book


Module D – Coherence – Hint Sheet

Coherence means each idea is linked to each succeeding idea logically and smoothly.

Coherence and Organization – Coherence demands an orderly arrangement of ideas. There are two kinds of order:

  • Natural Order
    • Chronological Order – records a chain of events
    • Spatial Order – records what one observes
  • Logical Order
    • Deductive Order – supports a general statement with particular details
    • Inductive Order – presents a series of details which lead to a general statement of conclusion

Coherence within Paragraphs – can be maintained by using connectives (grammatical consistency, pronoun reference, and transitional markers) to link ideas.

  • Consistent Grammatical Pattern
    • One Point Of View – I, you, he, they, she, etc.
    • Voice – active, passive, subject, tense
  • Parallelism – Stating similar ideas in similar grammatical construction helps link ideas coherently.
  • Pronoun Reference – Using pronouns is a good way to keep one subject running through a paragraph without monotonous repetition.
  • Transitional Markers – Words or phrases that relate a sentence to a preceding sentence:
    • Simple connectives (and, or, nor, but, for)
    • Introductions of illustrations (thus, for example, for instance, to illustrate)
    • Introduction of another phase or the same idea (secondly, in the second place, next, moreover, in addition, similarly, again, also, finally)
    • Pointing out a contrast or qualification (on the other hand, nevertheless, despite this fact, on the contrary, however)
    • Showing a conclusion or result (therefore, in conclusion, to sum up, consequently, as a result, accordingly, in other words)

Coherence Between Paragraphs – link paragraphs together by organizing before you write and using transitional devices

  • Organize before you write:
    • Decide your thesis
    • List main supporting ideas
    • Make a detailed outline
  • There are 3 transitional devices to link paragraphs:
    • Repetition of key words
    • Repetition of significant ideas
    • Restatement of the thesis
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