Coherence


Introduction
The most convincing ideas in the world, expressed in the most beautiful sentences, will move no one unless those ideas are properly connected. Unless readers can move easily from one thought to another, they will surely find something else to read or turn on the television.
A basic principle of style in academic and workplace writing is that the writer should make the text as easy to read as possible. You must never assume that your readers know what you know. In fact, it's a good idea to assume not only that your readers need all the information that you have and need to know how you arrived at the point you're at, but also that they are not quite as quick as you are. You might be able to leap from one side of the stream to the other; believe that your readers need some stepping stones and be sure to place them in readily accessible and visible spots. An essential aspect of readability is coherence.
http://www.boisestate.edu/wcenter/ww97.htm
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/transitions.htm

Definition

Coherence literally means "sticking together."
Was a quality of sentences, paragraphs, and essays when all parts are clearly connected.
The elements of coherent writing -- the words and the information they convey -- are related to one another so that readers can follow the flow of thought easily from sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph. The problem with the term coherence is that it sounds static, as if coherent writing just sits there sticking together. Coherence in writing actually has a dynamic quality, because it has to do with movement: movement of information and ideas, movement of the reader's changing perceptions and knowledge.
http://www.boisestate.edu/wcenter/ww97.htm
http://grammar.about.com/od/c/g/coherenceterm.htm

Technique

When writing an essay, students can use the following tree diagram which provide a pattern for them to achieve coherence.


l a thesis statement = topic + (controlling idea 1 + controlling idea 2 + controlling idea 3)

l a topic sentence = topic + controlling idea

l coordinate = explains the controlling idea

l subordinate = examples of controlling idea
As we've seen, a paragraph contains a topic sentence and supportive information. a topic sentence contains the main idea upon which a paragraph is developed. In a unified paragraph, all of the supporting sentences serve to illustrate, clarify, and/or explain the main idea set forth in the topic sentence.
  • Rules of Thumb for Writing Unified Paragraphs
    • Be sure your paragraphs focus on one idea and state that idea in a topic sentence.
    • Place your topic sentence effectively within your paragraph. Let the purpose of your paragraph and the nature of your evidence guide you.
    • Let your paragraph's evidence--the selected details, the examples--illustrate or clarify the idea expressed in your topic sentence.
    • Make sure you explain the relationship between your evidence and your idea so that it is clear to readers.
    • Think about unity among paragraphs when writing essays. Be sure your paragraphs are related, that they fit together and clarify your essay's idea.

(R. DiYanni, Scribner Handbook for Writers. Allyn & Bacon, 2001)
http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Lee-Writing/
http://grammar.about.com/od/developingparagraphs/a/parunity.htm
http://grammar.about.com/od/tz/g/unityterm.htm

Sentence Basis


  1. Repetition. In sentence B (the second of any two sentences), repeat a word from sentence A.
  2. Synonymy. If direct repetition is too obvious, use a synonym of the word you wish to repeat. This strategy is call 'elegant variation.'
  3. Antonymy. Using the 'opposite' word, an antonym, can also create sentence cohesion, since in language antonyms actually share more elements of meaning than you might imagine.
  4. Pro-forms. Use a pronoun, pro-verb, or another pro-form to make explicit reference back to a form mentioned earlier.
  5. Collocation. Use a commonly paired or expected or highly probable word to connect one sentence to another.
  6. Enumeration. Use overt markers of sequence to highlight the connection between ideas. This system has many advantages: (a) it can link ideas that are otherwise completely unconnected, (b) it looks formal and distinctive, and (c) it promotes a second method of sentence cohesion, discussed in (7) below.
  7. Parallelism. Repeat a sentence structure. This technique is the oldest, most overlooked, but probably the most elegant method of creating cohesion.
  8. Transitions. Use a conjunction or conjunctive adverb to link sentences with particular logical relationships.


addition
again, also, and, and then, besides, equally important, finally, first, further, furthermore, in addition, in the first place, last, moreover, next, second, still, too
comparison
also, in the same way, likewise, similarly
concession
granted, naturally, of course
contrast
although, and yet, at the same time, but at the same time, despite that, even so, even though, for all that, however, in contrast, in spite of, instead, nevertheless, notwithstanding, on the contrary, on the other hand, otherwise, regardless, still, though, yet
emphasis
certainly, indeed, in fact, of course
example orillustration
after all, as an illustration, even, for example, for instance, in conclusion, indeed, in fact, in other words, in short, it is true, of course, namely, specifically, that is, to illustrate, thus, truly
summary
all in all, altogether, as has been said, finally, in brief, in conclusion, in other words, in particular, in short, in simpler terms, in summary, on the whole, that is, therefore, to put it differently, to summarize
time sequence
after a while, afterward, again, also, and then, as long as, at last, at length, at that time, before, besides, earlier, eventually, finally, formerly, further, furthermore, in addition, in the first place, in the past, last, lately, meanwhile, moreover, next, now, presently, second, shortly, simultaneously, since, so far, soon, still, subsequently, then, thereafter, too, until, until now, when


http://papyr.com/hypertextbooks/comp1/coherent.htm

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/transitions.htm



examples

paragraph

Support it with specific examples in a paragraph.

Nowadays, following with the development of industry at every corner of the world, pollution caused by the factory effects even breaks up the food-chain in natural environment on the land. For building up a factory, it has to cut down the woods of a certain area. Some animals lose their living place. Plants previously in the area disappear, that means the food sources of plant-eating animals decrease and it will caused their death. After the number of plant-eating animals decreases, meat-eating animals will decrease in number too. Trees act as important role in air-filtering and temperature controlling. After being cutted down, dust in the air will increase, gas of carbon dioxide increases and the temperature around the area will increase too. Some animals and plants cannot adapt themselves to the changed environment. They will eventually disappear from there. That means, there is a lose of food-sources of some other animals and a lose of food consumers at there.

The topic sentence for this paragraph was that pollution was caused by factory emission. Rather than explaining what elements in the emission caused pollution, his elaboration was on how the food chain would be broken and on global warming. The elaboration for the paragraph did not follow the topic sentence and there was more than one idea in the paragraph.

Transitions


Now, look at this paragraph. Can you identify the main points?

Each of the U.S. manned space exploration projects had specific major goals. The Mercury project was designed to test whether or not human beings could survive and function in outer space. The Mercury project tested rockets with the new Mercury space capsule, which could hold one person. The Gemini project was intended to find out whether two people could work in the weightless environment of space. Gemini astronauts took "spacewalks." They floated outside their spacecraft in a spacesuit, connected to it by a tether. Gemini astronauts tried out new flying skills. Some astronauts flew two spacecraft extremely close together; this procedure was called "rendezvous." On some Gemini flights, astronauts physically linked two spacecraft together. Linking, or "space docking," was a major goal of the Gemini program. The Apollo project, with three astronauts, was intended to test spacecraft and skills so that people could actually fly to the Moon and land on it. Performing scientific experiments on the lunar surface and collecting rocks for study on Earth were goals.

Was this paragraph a little confusing to read? Now consider the same paragraph with a few changes:

|| Each of the U.S. manned space exploration projects had specific major goals. For example, the Mercury project was designed to test whether or not human beings could survive and function in outer space. In addition, the Mercury project tested rockets with the new Mercury space capsule, which could hold one person. As another example, the Gemini project was intended to find out whether two people could work in the weightless environment of space. One way of doing this was by having Gemini astronauts take "spacewalks." That is, they floated outside their spacecraft in a spacesuit, connected to it by a tether. Gemini astronauts alsotried out new flying skills. For example, some astronauts flew two spacecraft extremely close together; this procedure was called "rendezvous." On some Gemini flights, astronauts physically linked two spacecraft together. This linking, or "space docking," was a major goal of the Gemini program. Finally, the Apollo project, with three astronauts, had the goal of testing spacecraft and skills so that people could actually fly to the Moon and land on it. Other goals included performing scientific experiments on the lunar surface and collecting rocks for study on Earth.
||



Do you see which of the connectors above are major and which are minor? The major ones are For example in the second sentence, which introduces the first supporting point (the Mercury program); As another example, which begins the second main point (the Gemini program); and the word Finally, which introduces the third and last main point (the Apollo moon program). (In the paragraph above, all of the major connectors are underlined.)

As for the minor connectors, we can divide them into three groups. The first group of minor connectors provides coherence for the first main point (the Mercury program). There is only one minor connector in this first group, In addition, although it is possible to have more than one, depending on how many details you have to support your first main point.

The second group of minor connectors consists of That is, also, and also the phrase For example in the sentence, "For example, some astronauts..." Notice that this last minor connector is the same as the major connector at the beginning of the paragraph. However, the function of each is different, depending on the meaning of the sentences.

The third group of minor connectors in this particular paragraph also has one member, which is Other goals included....



http://lrs.ed.uiuc.edu/students/fwalters/cohere.html#major

http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Lee-Writing/