Definitions

cohesion (noun), cohesive (adjective), cohesively (adverb)

coherence  = clear and logical ideas.  This word refers to how well the sentence topics are connected to each other, and how well they are connected to the main idea.

coherence (noun), coherent (adjective)

Cohesion

A paragraph has cohesion when the ideas flow from one sentence to another sentence. They are connected. The end of one sentence relates to the beginning of the next sentence.

Look at the two passages below.

Thousands of people visit Yosemite National Park each year. They come to experience the natural beauties of the magnificent rock cliffs and to enjoy the great outdoors. These rock cliffs pose a great danger from rockslides.

The last sentence in this passage changes direction.  The first two sentences talk about the people visiting the park.  The last sentences focuses on the rock cliffs.

Thousands of people visit Yosemite National Park each year. They come to experience the natural beauties of the magnificent rock cliffs and to enjoy the great outdoors. However, what they do not realize is that as beautiful as they are, these rock cliffs also pose a great danger from rockslides.

The last sentence in this passage continues in the same direction as the first two sentences.  “Thousands of people…” / “They come to…” / “they do not realize…” This passage is cohesive.

Coherence

A passage can be cohesive, but it may not be coherent (clear and logical). In order for a passage to be coherent, readers need to clearly identify the topic of each sentence, and then, they need to be able to recognize how the sentence topics connect to each other and to the main idea of the passage.

The following passage has a good beginning, but has it continues, it has trouble with coherency.

Apple computers have become increasingly popular, especially in educational and media circles. With their user-friendly, no bells and whistles style they soon became a standard. Apple computers offer virtually an endless resource to simple, yet effective software. Software is key to building success in a global world. When the world became globalized many difficult issues begin to emerge.

The passage begins by talking how Apple computers became popular, and it ends with global issues. The passage seems to flow, but the topics in each sentence are not connected to each other, nor are they all connected to the main idea.

The following passage, written by a Dr. Banschick, is a better example of a coherent and cohesive paragraph.

“Your goal must be something that you can possibly do. You may not be able to lose 100 pounds, buy a bank, or have ten children. If your goals seem out of reach, think of them as possible long-term goals, and set something more achievable as a short or moderate term goal. Lose ten pounds, save some money, or start dating!”

Mark Banschick M.D.”Broke Your New Year’s Resolution?” Psychology Today, March 26, 2016

Each sentence in this passage links to the one before it, and links to the one after it (cohesive).  We are also able to identify the topic in each sentence, and each sentence supports the main idea (coherent).

Cause and Effect Transitions

Use these transitions to build cohesion and coherence in your writing.

Transitions to Show Causehowever, though, although, in contrast, on the other hand
Transitions to Show Effectstherefore, because of, thus
Transitions to Show Additionin addition, also, and, moreover, as well as, furthermore, in fact
Transitions to Show Conclusionin conclusion, to conclude (with), finally, lastly, in the end, therefore

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