What is Coherence in Writing?

Methods to Obtain Coherence in Writing
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Methods to Obtain Coherence in Writing

I want to go over four methods to obtain coherence in writing. When I talk about coherence, I’m talking mainly about consistency. One method is by the repetition of key phrases or words. When you repeat key phrases or words, you are establishing consistency in your writing. The reader can see your consistency, because you’re using the same phrases and words over and over. A second method is the use of personal pronouns.

This sentence says, “Joe’s dog walked around Joe’s leg.” “Joe’s” right here that’s underlined is the only one that should remain. We should remove “Joe’s” right here and replace it with “his”. When we use “Joe’s” twice, it begins to confuse the reader, because they think we’re talking about more than one Joe. By using this personal pronoun right here, “his”, it increases the comprehension on the reader’s part, which, in turn, increases coherence.

Even if you have consistency in your writing, if the reader can’t comprehend what you’re writing, they’re not going to be able to see the consistency in your writing. A third method is the use of synonyms. This first sentence says, “He went on a hike with his colleague.” Say you don’t know what the word “colleague” means. You progress to the next sentence and read that it was his first time to hang out with a co-worker.

You can easily see that “colleague” and “co-worker” are indeed synonyms. If you did not know what “colleague” meant, you probably know what “co-worker” means. You can figure out what he means by saying that it’s a synonym with “co-worker.” This increases comprehension, which helps for consistency. The fourth method is the use of parallel construction. Parallel construction is when you have items in a series, and you approach each item in the series the same way.

This sentence says, “I went to the grocery store, the carwash, and ate lunch at the food court.” Each item in this series does not have the same grammatical setup. You should be able to apply the first three words of this sentence to each part of the series. You should be able to say, “I went to the grocery store,” which you can, as well as, “I went to the car wash,” and then, “I went to eat lunch at the food court.”

The first two parts of the series make sense, but the third part doesn’t. You have to rephrase the sentence for it to make more sense. You can say, “I went to the grocery store, the car wash, and to the food court to eat lunch. Those are four methods to obtain coherence in your writing.

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Last updated: 07/11/2018


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