Cohesion is concerned with the way in which parts of written texts fit together to make a whole rather than a series of disconnected bits. This is particularly important when you are writing an assignment, and you need to pay attention to the connecting devices that you use. These devices connect the ideas in one sentence to the previous sentence and to the following sentence. They also connect the smaller parts of the sentence together, the phrases and clauses. In the same way, they connect paragraphs to each other. The connecting devices help to carry your argument along and lend structure to your writing, so that the reader finds it easier to understand. Connecting devices link all the different parts of your writing together so that it makes sense, not just to you but to anybody who is going to read your assignment. When you use connecting devices you will be relying on your intuitive knowledge of grammar in knowing which words fit together and in what kind of order, so that everything makes sense. Reading aloud gives you a sense of how well the connections are working.

You can think about cohesion in your writing at different levels, in terms of connections between topics; themes; words and phrases, as in the examples below:

Connecting topics

I give presentations from mind maps and sometimes hand them out. They're more visually exciting than linear notes.

(The writer connects mind maps + linear notes)

There are examples of societies whose violence is based on social ties and others where violent warfare is seen as a stabilizing force on the community. Even apparently peaceful groups such as the Buid or Inuit Eskimos experience some levels of violence in their close communities. (The writer connects violence in society + peaceful groups)

Connecting themes

In the extract from the student essay in Chapter 5, notice the three themes of the paragraphs:

• theories of child language acquisition;

• theoretical perspectives.

Connecting words and phrases


Firstly, secondly


In contrast


In addition


An example of










As a result


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