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Essay
Coherence

Professor Stevens, English 28

 

Coherence Worksheets

 

Essay Coherence

Good writing has a sensible order or coherence, each sentence follows naturally from the one before it. To make writing coherent you can use various devices to tie together words in a sentence, sentences in a paragraph and paragraphs in an essay. Coherence can be obtained using key words over and over and over in each sentence along with transitional words and phrases.  And, lastly, relevant topic sentences that support a thesis will enhance coherence.

1.      Key words in a sentence: Key words for a paragraph about "revolutions would be: uprising, rebellion, rebel, revolt used in a paragraph about revolution.  By repeating these key words about "revolutions"  it forces the writer to stay on the topic of "revolutions" and support the topic sentence.

 

2.      Transitional words in a paragraph & sentences:  such as however, therefore, moreover, etc. (Listed below) and phrases along with subordinators and coordinators.

 

3.      Thesis driven topic sentences promotes coherence.   To ensure that the thesis is accurate, the writer should create a thesis paragraph using their topic sentences.

 

Sample:

Without transitional words (not coherent):

A second job would help me to save money for tuition. A job would mean that I would have less time to study.  I don't really worry about a job and money.  My family gives me money for tuition.

animated_eye_ball2.gifWith transitional words (coherent):

A second job would help me to save money for tuition. However, a job would mean that I would have less time to study. On the other hand, I don't really worry about a job and money because my family gives me money for tuition.

 

 

 


Another Sample of Coherent and NonCoherent:

NOT Coherent:
Sentence Too Long
(STL)
(Often a writer crams too much information into one very, very, very long sentence.  It is how the writer thinks, which cannot be understood because the brain does not write sentences).

Debate over the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), which was originally proposed as a space-based defensive shield that would protect America from enemy attack, but which critics have suggested amounts to creating a first-strike capability in space, has to some extent focused on the wrong question.

 

Coherent:
(Long sentence above broken down into several short, concise sentences with transitions--italics.)

Discussions over the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) is not thought about correctly. Initially, the plan was originally proposed as a space-base defensive shield to protect America from enemy attack. However, critics say that it created a first-strike capability in space.

 

 


Combine sentences when possible using subordinators (19a), coordinators (14a) and transitional Words (34a & below).  See sample below for use of all three techniques in italics and bold:

As we move from small animals to large animals—from mice to elephants, brain size increases, but not as fast as body size does.  In other words, bodies grow faster than brains do, and large animals have low ratios of brain weight to body weight.  For example, brains grow about two-thirds as fast as bodies do.  Because large animals are not stupid, we must conclude that large animals require less brain to do as well as smaller animals do.  If we do not recognize this relationship, we are likely to underestimate large animals, for instance the dinosaurs.

 

Practice Lesson Coherence:

               Read the following paragraphs below whose sentences are organized in logical order.  Add transitional words and phrases that make each paragraph coherent.  Please keep in mind that the following words have meanings; do not just choose a word or phrase that seems okay.  What you put in the blanks below have to help the reader understand the sentences and paragraphs.  Below are listed phrases and words you should consider.  Use each transitional word and phrase ONCE only:

Directions:
Copy and paste the Transitional words and Phrases along with the two paragraphs below into a Word document.

2COHERENCE: Transitional words & Phrases—use each one once only

also

furthermore

another reason

for instance

In addition

the least important

for example

In fact

the most important

on the other hand

moreover

 

Paragraph 1

          There are many reasons to support school sports.  1  _______________ is the education students get on the playing field.  Students in a sports program, such as basketball or track, learn teamwork, self confidence, and the value of physical fitness.   2  _______________ they feel a sense of belonging that athletes on a team enjoy.  3  _______________ schools often benefit financially from the sales of tickets to sporting events.   4  _______________ attending a football game may help provide students with new textbooks and other materials.  5  _______________ reason to support schools sports is the chance that a student athlete might go on to become a famous sports figure.  6  _______________such success is extremely rare, and young people should be encouraged to pursue other, more practical careers.

Paragraph 2

          I have made some important decisions lately.  7  _______________ last year I decided to move from my home in rural California to an apartment in Los Angeles.  This move has had many benefits.  8  _______________ being in the city gave me more career opportunities.  9  _______________ it helped me to meet many more people than I could have in my small California town.  10  _______________ I found plenty of interesting thing to do with my time.  My new interests include surfing and salsa dancing.   11  _______________ I find the cultural mix in the city interesting and exciting.

 

Answers

 

Transitional Words Grouped by Purpose

Purpose

Common Transitions

TO MARK TIME

then, soon, first, second, next, recently, the following day, in a little while, meanwhile, after, later, in the past, finally.

TO MARK PLACE OR DIRECTION

in the distance, close by, ear, far away, above,below, to the right, on the other side, opposite, to the west, next door.

TO SUMMARIZE OR RESTATE

in other words, to put it another way, in brief, in simpler terms, o the whole, in fact, in a word, to sum up, in short, inclusion, to conclude, therefore

TO RELATE CAUSE AND EFFECT OR RESULT

therefore, accordingly, hence, thus, for, so, consequently, as a result, because of, due to, eventually, inevitable

TO ADD OR AMPLIFY OR LIST

and, also, too, besides, as well, moreover, in addition, furthermore, in effect, second, in the second place, again, next

TO COMPARE

similarly, likewise, in like manner, in the same way

TO CONCEDE

whereas, on the other hand, with that in maid, still, and yet, even so, in spite of, despite, at least, of course, no doubt, even though

TO CONTRAST

on the other hand, but, or, however, unlike, nevertheless, on the contrary, conversely, in contrast, instead, counter to

TO INDICATE PURPOSE

to this end, for this purpose, with this aim

TO EXPRESS CONDITION

although, though

TO GIVE EXAMPLES OR SPECIFY

For example, for instance, in this case, in particular, to illustrate

TO QUALIFY

for the most part, by and large, with few exception, mainly, in most cases, generally, some, sometimes, typically, frequently, really

TO EMPHASIZE

It is true, truly, indeed, of course, to be sure, obviously, without doubt, evidently, clearly, understanddably

 

 

 

 

Final Coherence EXAM

 

SAMPLE:

Punctuation placed where needed, whcih is also necessary to do the EXAM correctly:

             As we move from small animals to large animals—from mice to elephants, brain size increases, but not as fast as body size does. In other words, bodies grow faster than brains do, and large animals have low ratios of brain weight to body weight. For example, brains grow about two-thirds as fast as bodies do. Because large animals are not stupid, we must conclude that large animals require less brain to do as well as smaller animals do. If we do not recognize this relationship, we are likely to underestimate large animals, for instance the dinosaurs.

See sample above for use of all three punctuation techniques in italics and in bold:

 

EXAM DIRECTIONS:

Combine sentences when possible using subordinators (19a), coordinators (14a) and transitional Words (34a). 

Assignment begins here. Copy and paste the following essay into a blank Word document. Using the words listed above, combine sentences to enhance coherence. Lastly, MLA format your paper.

 

 

Assignment begins here.  Copy and paste the following essay into a blank Word document. Using the words listed above, combine sentences to enhance coherence. Lastly, MLA format your paper.

 

Coherence Sentence Combining with Transitions

Writers need to link ideas clearly.  Readers expect to learn a paragraph’s main point in a topic sentence early in the paragraph.  A topic sentence should be limiting like this next sentence.   An open space classroom is not practical for my son.  Readers move into the body to find details about the topic sentence.  They expect to find specific details, facts, and examples.  The supports should refer to the topic sentence directly.  It can refer to the topic sentence indirectly.  A sentence that does not support a topic directly needs to be connected indirectly.

Repeating key words is an important technique for gaining coherence.  You can prevent repetitions from becoming dull.  You can use variations of a key word like hike, hiker, hiking. Use synonyms like run, dash, and race. Sentence about slaves plotting to escape can be tied together repeating words.  You can echo synonyms like plot, uprising, rise-up, rebellion, riots.  Repeating words ties each sentence together.  It enhances a reader’s ability to comprehend an article.

Coherence can suffer from a voice shift.  It suffers with a shift in verb tense.  A sentence should echo a subject in the previous sentence with the same verb tense.  A sentence should refer to subjects or objects in the previous sentence.  It is difficult to read a paragraph without sentences’ subjects tied to early subjects or objects.  New information is introduced with the subject of each sentence.  Be consistent with your voice.  The use of first-person should be the same in every sentence.  You are writing in the first-person.  The first-person subject pronoun—I—should be used in every sentence.

Transitions are bridges from the last read to the next.  Transitions help readers move from sentence to sentence.  They alert readers to connections of ideas.  They help readers understand ideas between paragraphs.  Choose transitions carefully.  Vary transitions carefully.  Each transition has a different meaning.  Use an appropriate transition.  You might confuse your reader.  A sample needs transitions below.  Add them:

Taking eight o’clock classes may seem unappealing.  Early classes have its advantages.  Early students avoid the worst traffic.  They find the best parking spaces.  They have a better choice of class offerings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Answers for coherence practice lesson:

  1. the most important  WITH COMMA AFTER --   Important,
  2. also WITH COMMA AFTER -- Also,
  3. in addition WITH COMMA AFTER --  In addition,
  4. another reason WITH COMMA AFTER --  Another reason,
  5. the least important WITH COMMA AFTER --  The least important,
  6. on the other hand WITH COMMA AFTER --   On the other hand,
  7. for example WITH COMMA AFTER --  For example,
  8. for instance WITH COMMA AFTER --  For instance,
  9. moreover WITH COMMA AFTER --  Moreover,
  10. furthermore WITH COMMA AFTER --  Furthermore,
  11. in fact WITH COMMA AFTER --  In fact,