Writing Skill: Cohesion

Now that your planning stage is complete, you can begin writing your draft. Remember that your writing should be organized, developed, accurate, and original.


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 similarity.

Showing Addition:

Another                     Another reason to use public transportation is that it is reliable.

Also                           Public transportation is also reliable.

Besides                      Besides being efficient, public transportation is reliable.

In addition                 In addition to being efficient, public transportation is reliable.

First, second, etc.       Second, public transportation is reliable.

Showing Similarity:

Both                         The two sports share both a wide fan base and a name.

Likewise                    The two sports share a wide fan base. Likewise, they share a name.

Similarly                    The two sports share a wide fan base. Similarly, they share a name.

Showing Contrast:

However                    RNA is able to leave the nucleus of the cell. However, DNA isn't.

In contrast                 RNA is able to leave the nucleus of the cell. In contrast, DNA isn't.

On the other hand     RNA is able to leave the nucleus of the cell. On the other hand, DNA isn't.

Yet                             RNA is able to leave the nucleus of the cell, yet DNA isn't.

Giving Examples:

An example of           Squats are an example of exercises that strengthen our muscles.

For instance               Many exercises strengthen our muscles. For instance, squats are an...

To illustrate                Many exercises strengthen our muscles. To illustrate, consider how your muscles are                                               strengthened when you do an exercise like squats.


Exercise 1: Practice cohesive devices

Read each sentence. Fill in the blanks with a cohesive device from the box that best illustrates the relationship between the two parts of each sentence.

In additionBothHoweverFor instanceFirst
AlsoLikewiseOn the other handAn example ofFinally

  1. There are many steps to acquiring a driver’s license. _____, you must schedule an exam.
  2. Sarah usually does not eat sugar; _____, she made an exception for her birthday, so she could eat cake.
  3. The ELC is _____ a school devoted to teaching international students English.
  4. _____ to receiving an injury, the student failed their history exam.
  5. The two sisters have always shared _____ their room and their clothes.
  6. The teacher _____ required the students to write a 3-5 page essay for homework.
  7. Some students like to do homework to practice what they have learned. _____, other students dislike homework since it takes up too much of their free-time.
  8. First, you open the file. Then you make the necessary corrections. _____, you save and print the document.
  9. People prefer to make their own decisions. _____, when someone is deciding what to eat for lunch, they would rather eat something that they decided sounded good to eat.
  10. The president met with congress to discuss the issue. _____, he met with the house of representatives to receive their feedback.

Exercise 2: Write with cohesive devices

Write a complex sentence using the cohesive device in the parenthesis.

Make sure the relationship between the parts of the sentence is clear.

  1. (on the other hand) ___________________________________
  2. (similarly) ___________________________________
  3. (for example) ___________________________________
  4. (in contrast) ___________________________________
  5. (another) ___________________________________

Exercise 3: Practice cohesive devices in context

Read each paragraph. Fill in the blanks with a cohesive device that best illustrates the relationships within the paragraph.

  1. In my country, there is a natural monument called “the Citadelle Laferiere” that is very beautiful. It is very beautiful because it is a magnificent mountain top fortress. _____, the natural monument has many beautiful different types of trees. _____, Citadelle Laferiere has both palm and coconut trees. _____, the view from the Citadelle Laferiere is very amazing. When you are at the top, you can watch the city of Millot. You can also see the beautiful river nearby. _____, Citadelle Laferiere is a wonderful place to visit.
  2. There are many reasons why I think that professional athletes don't need to receive a lot of money. Professional sports are entertaining, but they are still only entertainment. The companies that are investing in professional sports only think about earning more money. _____, there are many children who want to be athletes. _____, the main reason they want to be athletes is because they can earn a lot of money. It's good that children want to do sports, but it's not ideal that they do it only for the money. _____ this is my brother. He focused on sports and didn’t think that it was important or necessary to study since he was hoping to become a professional athlete. _____, he was never chosen and now has to work at a local fast food restaurant because he doesn’t have any other skills. _____, I agree with the opinion that professional athletes receive too much money.
  3. If you want to find a good job, you need to follow certain steps. _____, you need to know what kind of job you want. _____, if you know a lot about business, you will want to find a job related to business. _____, you have to make your resume. This is very important because all businesses look at this paper, and they choose whether or not you get the job depending on what you write there. _____, you need to put all the important and impressive information about you on your resume: where you studied, what you know how to do, and every other important details about you that you can give to the company. _____, when you finish, you need to go to the business’s website, fill out an application, and upload your resume. You can also visit the business to ask for a job application. _____, if you get an interview, you need to be quiet and tell the truth. Trust in yourself because they have all your information and wanted to interview you. _____, if you follow these steps, you can find a good job and become more professional.

Exercise 4: Write with cohesive devices

Read the following essay. Are cohesive devices used? When used, are they being used accurately? With a partner, discuss the paragraph and make any necessary changes.

How to Arrive Early to School

     Have you been late for class this semester? How did you feel? You probably felt worried, embarrassed, or maybe discouraged. Sometimes it is difficult to be on time because, as students, you have many distractions. You stay up late doing homework or going to parties and then oversleep. In the morning, you may lose something important that you need for school or not know what to wear. You will probably face many different issues or challenges before getting to school, but there is a way to get to school on time. By choosing clothes the night before, preparing your backpack and leaving early, you can be on time.

     Choosing what you are going to wear for school the night before helps a lot. Sometimes you know what you'd like to wear, but if the weather changes, you have to find a different outfit. To avoid these kinds of situations, ponder about what you are going to do the next day. Look for an outfit that will fit with the kind of day that you will have. Reviewing the weather will help you see if the clothes that you chose will suit the weather. Remember that both things should be done the night before. Don't be lazy and plan the perfect outfit for your day!

     Prepare your backpack. This is an easy but important step. The night before, check your schedule and look for the books that you will need for school. If you don't see something in your bag, find it. If you plan to find it in the morning, you will probably waste time and be late for school. Also, if you are the kind of person that likes to make a lunch, prepare it at night, too. Have your backpack ready because you can't go to school without your prepared backpack.

     Make a good decision about when to leave the house. Sometimes we believe that we have superpowers and that we can get to school in one minute. That's impossible. Please be wise and think about the schedule of the transportation you have to take, how long it will take you, and at what time classes start. Leave your home 40 minutes before classes begin even if it only takes 30 minutes. The difference of 10 minutes will help you to find solutions to unexpected challenges and to be on time. Be wise and leave on time.

     Selecting what you are going to wear, preparing your bag, and being ready to leave home on time in the morning will help you to be on time. Whether or not you like to prepare stuff the night before, you should try these strategies to help you use your time more wisely. We're more able to solve issues at night rather than right before leaving in the morning. Decide to start your day without stress in the mornings and to start the day with a big smile. If you do these things, each day will be a lot better.

Exercise 5: Evaluate your writing.

Now look at your own writing. With a partner, read over your essays and paragraphs and make sure that cohesive devices are used correctly and when needed.

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