Writing Skill: Cohesion

Now that your planning stage is complete, you can begin writing your draft. Your writing should be organized, developed, accurate, and original. As you draft, be careful to make sure you are not arguing for which topic is better; you are simply comparing them.


Writing has cohesion when the ideas logically flow from one to the next. Writing paragraphs that have good sequencing will help your readers understand your ideas more clearly. Sometimes you will have a clear order that relates to time. Sometimes the order is more flexible and there is not one “perfect” way to sequence the sentences.

Cohesive Devices

One way to improve the cohesion of your writing is by using cohesive devices properly. There are many types of cohesive devices: pronouns, adjectives, determiners, prepositions, conjunctions, repeated words, transition words, etc.

Some cohesive devices show certain relationships between ideas, like showing contrast or a cause/ effect relationship.

Showing Addition
AnotherAnother reason to use public transportation is that it is reliable.
AlsoPublic transportation is also reliable.
BesidesBesides being efficient, public transportation is reliable.
In additionIn addition to being efficient, public transportation is reliable.
First, second, etc.Second, public transportation is reliable.

Showing Similarity
BothThe two sports share both a wide fan base and a name.
LikewiseThe two sports share a wide fan base. Likewise, they share a name.
SimilarlyThe two sports share a wide fan base. Similarly, they share a name.

Showing Contrast
HoweverThe reading states that research distracts from teaching. However, the professor feels that research enhances it.
In contrastThe reading states that research distracts from teaching. In contrast, the professor feels that research enhances it.
On the other handThe reading states that research distracts from teaching. On the other hand, the professor feels that research enhances it.
WhereasWhereas the reading states that research distracts from teaching, the professor feels that research enhances it.
YetThe reading states that research distracts from teaching, yet the professor feels that research enhances it.

Giving Examples  
An example ofSquats are an example of exercises that strengthen our muscles.
For instanceMany exercises strengthen our muscles. For instance, squats are an... 
To illustrateMany exercises strengthen our muscles. To illustrate, consider how exercises like squats strengthen your muscles.


Exercise 1: Match supporting sentences to a topic sentence

Use the topic sentences below to decide which paragraph supporting sentences A-E belong in. 

Body Paragraph #1: Some Americans think that Chinese take-out and Mexican take-out food represent authentic food from China and Mexico. 

Body Paragraph #2: Both Chinese take-out and Mexican take-out food are typically made with American ingredients instead of authentic ingredients and appeal to American consumers

  1. Authentic Mexican food frequently uses ingredients only found in Mexico rather than the substitutes used in Mexican take-out. 
  2. Many Americans will tell you they’ve eaten real Chinese food, even though they have only gone to Panda Express in the U.S. 
  3. Many Americans think fortune cookies are customary at the end of a meal in China, but they were actually created for Chinese take-out restaurants in America. 
  4. Beef and Broccoli are both popular ingredients in many Chinese take-out restaurants because Americans like the taste, even though these ingredients are not very popular in a typical Chinese diet. 
  5. Nachos, burritos, and hard shell tacos are all foods that many Americans think come from Mexico because they have eaten them in a “Mexican” restaurant in the U.S. 

Exercise 2: Write a developed body paragraph

Use the topic sentence to write a developed body paragraph on a piece of paper.

Learning grammar in your first language is very different from learning grammar in your second language.

Exercise 3: Analyze conclusion paragraphs

As you draft your conclusion, review the information in chapter 1 about writing a good conclusion paragraph. Read these conclusion paragraphs. Which is most effective? 

  1. Even though they started out as the same country, now there are clear differences between South Korea and North Korea in politics, economy, and language. First, the two countries have different politics. For example, people in South Korea can vote for their leaders, but people in North Korea don’t. They each have different economic systems because South Korea is capitalist and North Korea is communist. Finally, the language is different because they have distinct vocabulary. It is clear that much more than a physical border separates these two countries from each other. 
  2. Even though they started out as the same country, now there are clear differences between South Korea and North Korea in politics, economy, and language. These differences are evident in the election of their leaders, their economic systems, and the different vocabulary words that have developed. People need to be aware of these differences because it helps them to appreciate and understand news about Korea or the Korean people they meet. It is clear that much more than a physical border separates these two countries from each other. 
  3. Even though they started out as the same country, now there are clear differences between South Korea and North Korea in politics, economy, and language. Many people that live in other parts of the world may be unaware of the major differences between these countries and think that they are the same. It is clear that much more than a physical border separates these two countries from each other.

Exercise 4: Identify logical order of sentences

Each of these sentences combine to make a paragraph. Write a number by each sentence A-H to show a logical order for sequencing the supporting sentences. 

TOPIC SENTENCE: Making pancakes is easy to do. 

_______ A. Pour about 1/4 cup of the mixture onto a hot frying pan. 

_______ B. First, put the pancake mix and water in a bowl. 

_______ C. Then add an egg and stir again. 

_______ D. You can check the bottom after a minute to find out if it is cooking. 

_______ E. Heat the frying pan. 

_______ F. When bubbles start to rise to the surface and pop, turn it over with a spatula. 

_______ G. Stir the mix and water together. 

_______ H. When both sides of the pancake have cooked fully, they will look light brown. 

CONCLUDING SENTENCE: Then you are ready to enjoy your pancakes! 

Exercise 5: Insert a sentence.

The bolded numbers represent places that the bolded sentence could be inserted into the paragraph. Choose the most logical place to insert the bolded sentence. 

1 French toast is another breakfast food that is easy to make. 2 Season the mixture with cinnamon. 3 To prepare the toast, quickly dip a slice of bread into the mixture and put it on a hot pan to cook. 4 When the toast has turned light brown, it’s ready to eat. 5 You can top the toast with butter, syrup, and powdered sugar. 6 Making French toast is as easy as that! 7

Make an egg mixture by cracking a few eggs into a bowl and stirring in some milk. 

Exercise 6: Revise for logical order of sentences.

These paragraphs lack cohesion. Identify the sentences that break the logical flow of the ideas. Explain your answer to a partner.

1. Reading is a popular hobby for people of many ages. Children often enjoy reading for entertainment. Other adults enjoy reading because they have found specific authors or genres that move them and they can create a connection with the story. Teenagers enjoy reading as a hobby because they are able to learn about other places and cultures by reading about them. Little children may also enjoy reading because they enjoy spending time with their parents. Young adults may enjoy reading for a hobby because it can help them socialize with other young adults who are reading the same stories. Some adults read to relax after a long day at work. It is obvious that reading is such a popular hobby due to the reasons people of all ages choose to read.

2. However, reading is more than a hobby; it is also a great tool for eduction. If people want to learn new skills, they can learn about those skills in books. If people want to understand history, they can learn it in a book. If they want to learn how scientific processes occur, there are books that can explain them. The education you can gain from a book can include skills, history, science, and even how to succeed in business. If people want to learn about successful business practices, there are also books that can teach about that topic. Reading can open the door to learn many new things.

3. Reading stories that were written by people from a different culture helps the reader understand that culture better. The culture of a group of people includes their beliefs and traditions, which are frequently included in the stories they write. For example, many people have written stories to teach a lesson that shows the importance of a certain characteristic. The Little Red Hen is one such story in American culture. Many other cultures have similar types of stories that show pieces of their cultures. This story teaches the value of hard work, which is traditionally valued highly in America. Thus, by reading, people can learn more about other cultures. 

Exercise 7: Add Cohesive Devices.

Add cohesive devices to the essay. 

Many students take the TOEFL every year as part of the requirements to be admitted to an American University. This test is often used as a way to measure a student’s English proficiency. Since the result of getting a low score can mean that students are not able to go to the college they desire to attend, it is important to prepare well for this exam. In order to prepare for the exam, students need to improve their knowledge of English, become familiar with the format of the exam, and practice. 

_____ students need to learn English. The English skills that need to be learned are reading, listening, speaking, writing, and grammar (especially as those skills are used in academic settings). Learning grammar is different on the TOEFL from what you might think. Other types of English exams include a written grammar test to measure students’ knowledge of grammar. _____ the TOEFL uses a different grammar assessment. Grammar is measured by the application of grammar knowledge in context. When a test taker speaks and writes on the test, the grammar they use is evaluated. It takes time to improve your English, so do as much as you can to build your vocabulary, grammar, and fluency in each of the skills. 

_____ learning the format of the test is essential. Even a native speaker would not be able to score perfectly if they were unfamiliar with the format of the test. First, you need to know about the timing of the test. You should _____ be familiar with the types of questions you will be asked. _____ element of the format you should be familiar with is how the test will be scored. _____ there are some questions on the reading section that are worth two points instead of one point.

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