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Cohesion

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.

1 EXERCISE: Identify logical order of sentences

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

TOPIC SENTENCE: Robots are becoming more advanced with advances in technology. 

  1. _______ NASA has robots in space that “are performing tasks with sub-millimeter precision” (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2015, para. 3). 
  2. _______ Today’s robots are very powerful. 
  3. _______ On the other hand, the robots of twenty years ago were not able to do as much or make such exact movements. 
  4. _______ In addition to being powerful, today’s robots are also very precise. 
  5. _______ Robots in the United Kingdom, for example, were strong enough to harvest five tons of barley from a farm run by robots last year (Pultarova, 2017). 

CONCLUDING SENTENCE: With the amazing advances we have seen recently, it is very likely that robots will continue to improve and become capable of doing even more. 

2 EXERCISE: Insert a sentence

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

1 Everyone experiences stress. 2 Some of these causes include health, relationships, life changes, and conflicts between your beliefs and your values (“Causes of Stress,” 2018). 3 Regardless of the cause, everyone should understand stress because they will have to know how to handle it. 4

Even though all people have different lives and circumstances, stress is universal because it has so many different causes. 

3 EXERCISE: Identify misplaced sentences

Read the original paragraph. Underline sentences that seem to be out of place. Then compare the original to the revised version. 

Original: 

        The skin is one of the most important lines of protection that the human body has against infection. If a germ makes it past the skin, the body has several mechanisms in place to destroy it. For example, the body uses white blood cells to find and destroy germs that enter the body (“Components of the Immune System,” 2015). These mechanisms don’t always work quickly enough to prevent people from becoming sick, but they do begin fighting the bacteria or virus and help people recover. In order to become infected, either bacteria or viruses have to enter the body. The skin prevents this from happening most of the time, as we encounter thousands—if not millions—of germs every day. Thus, the skin is one of the best ways to protect the body from germs because it blocks the majority of them. 

Revision: 

        The skin is one of the most important lines of protection that the human body has against infection. In order to become infected, either bacteria or viruses have to enter the body. The skin prevents this from happening most of the time, as we encounter thousands—if not millions—of germs every day. If a germ makes it past the skin, the body has several mechanisms in place to destroy it. For example, the body uses white blood cells to find and destroy germs that enter the body (“Components of the Immune System,” 2015). These mechanisms don’t always work quickly enough to prevent people from becoming sick, but they do begin fighting the bacteria or virus and help people recover. Thus, the skin is one of the best ways to protect the body from germs because it blocks the majority of them. 

4 EXERCISE: Revise for cohesion

Revise the paragraph for cohesion.

       The languages spoken in Haiti and the Dominican Republic are one evidence of their distinct cultures. On one side of the island, they speak French, while on the other side they speak Spanish. The indigenous people of the island originally spoke Taino (Reichard, 2017). Spanish and French were imported. France and Spain both established colonies on the island, bringing their languages with them. Due to these new influences, most of the native Taino language was conquered. There are a few words of Taino that remained in Spanish like huracán (tornado) and maíz (corn) (Reichard, 2017). Both sides of the island are certainly distinct because they now have different languages.

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

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

Showing Cause/Effect

Thus Excessive stress weakens the body, thus making it easier to get sick.
As a consequence Excessive stress weakens the body. As a consequence, stress makes it easier to get sick.
therefore Excessive stress weakens the body. Therefore, stress makes it easier to get sick.
as a result Excessive stress weakens the body. As a result, stress makes it easier to get sick.
consequently Excessive stress weakens the body. Consequently, stress makes it easier to get sick.

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.

5 EXERCISE: Identify connectors

Read the groups of sentences and think about what cohesive devices would most effectively combine the research into a paragraph.

The following research comes from an article by Peri (2018). If you wanted to include all of this research in a body paragraph, what kind of cohesive device could you use?

  1. Sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning.
  2. Lack of sleep impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving.
  3. Various sleep cycles play a role in consolidating memories in the mind.
  4. If you don't get enough sleep, you won't be able to remember what you learned.

 

The following research comes from an article by DiSalvo (2017). If you wanted to include all of this research in a body paragraph, what kind of cohesive device could you use?

  1. Controlling your breathing calms your brain.
  2. Breathing regulates your blood pressure.
  3. Counting breaths taps into the brain's emotional control regions.
  4. The rhythm of your breathing affects memory.
  5. Controlled breathing may boost the immune system.

 

The following research comes from an article by Jacobs (2017). If you wanted to include all of this research in a body paragraph, what kind of cohesive devices could you use?

  1. To give someone a business card, a Japanese business person will hold the card with two hands as she passes the card to the The card should be studied and discussed as part of the conversation.
  2. When an American business person passes a business card to another person, they do not hold it with two hands, and they may not even have a card with Many millennials prefer to have business contacts go to their LinkedIn profiles. Failure to present a business card is not offensive in American culture.