Coherence

Coherence is really concerned with the overall sense of your written text. Having read aloud and checked the sense of individual words and sentences as you go, you need to find out if the whole assignment is coherent and has a clear structure which your reader will be able to recognize as they read through your work. Probably if you are not sure what to put in and what to leave out it is best to err on the safe side and put in the information that you feel is necessary to make the text coherent. Cohesion and reference are both elements of creating a coherent text. When you write you will unconsciously take account of all the different concepts that we have tried to unpack in this chapter so far. Your own intuitive knowledge of grammar and the way in which sentences work and are structured will help you to realize when things are not making sense. You may need to rewrite some parts of your assignment to make sure that it is more coherent. You may move parts around or change the organization of the paragraphs. The way in which your final piece of work is divided into paragraphs will depend upon the subject matter which you are dealing with in your assignment. In general, as you move on to a completely new topic or new theme of a topic you will start a new paragraph. Paragraphs which are very short can be rather disjointed to read. Those which are very long can lose the reader in a sea of different ideas. Paragraphs are there to break up the text into manageable chunks for both reader and writer. You may find that headings help as signposts for both you and the reader and can help to make the text coherent. You can check with your tutor if she or he likes the use of headings in written assignments. Again, our advice is to pay attention to the things that you are reading as their use varies from subject to subject.

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