Glossary: cohesion

Explanation

Cohesion refers to the grammatical relationships that exist within a text between words, phrases, etc. When we talk only of the semantic links, i.e. the meaning links, we speak of coherence.

A text has cohesion if it is clear how the meanings of its parts fit together. Cohesive devices can help to do this.

In the example, there are repeated references to the same thing (shown by the different combinations of bold, capitals, underlining and asterisks), and the logical relations, such as time and cause, between different parts are clear.

A visit has been arranged for YEAR 6, to the Mountain Peaks Field Study Centre, leaving school at 9.30am. This is an overnight visit. The centre has beautiful grounds and *a nature trail*. During the afternoon, THE CHILDREN will follow *the trail*.

Active and passive: Creating cohesion

When does a writer or speaker choose to use a passive rather than an active? There can be various reasons. We’ll look here at the effects of using passives in different contexts.

Consider sentence (1). Would it be more natural to follow it with (2) or (3)? Why?

Cohesion

Cohesion refers to the grammatical relationships that exist within a text between words, phrases, etc. When we talk only of the semantic links, i.e. the meaning links, we speak of coherence.

Here we focus on cohesion. However, before we do so, consider the following passage:

The sun is shining. Who is your neighbour? I left the washing in the machine. Without doubt she will succeed.

Discourse structure

Speakers and writers often use a range of structures and devices to signpost their arguments. These signposts link what they are saying to what they have said before, and to what they are going to say.

Discourse structure is a term used to describe the way in which an entire text is organised – for example, how language is used in a poem, in a newspaper article, or in a speech designed to read aloud.

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