Coherence in writing
Coherence plays a significant role in making a piece of writing effective. According to Walters, “Literally, the word means ‘to stick together.’” (para.1) Coherence ensures that each paragraph sticks to a single idea. All the sentences of a paragraph should compliment each other and appear to be different ways of putting forward a single point without making the sentences redundant. This is the reason why coherence is referred as the ‘mortar’ of a paragraph. This characteristic makes a piece of writing highly readable and interesting because just like all the sentences of a single paragraph, it also ensures that there is a link between all the paragraphs of the entire essay and there is a smooth flow of ideas from one paragraph to another.
Two writing tools that are helpful in maintaining coherence in a paragraph are – ‘transitional words and phrases’ and ‘repetition of key words’. The transitional words and phrases are the connectors that join two ideas. These are words and phrases like – for instance, for example, however, finally, also, on the other hand, to summarize, but, to conclude, therefore, hence etc. On the other hand, repetition of key words help in feeding the readers’ minds with the main point that the paragraph wants to convey. However to avoid making the paragraph look boring due to the repetition of the same word again and again, it should be used intelligently and only where it is really required. To strengthen a point without making it irritating the writer should use synonyms of the same word.
If there is no coherence even in a single paragraph of an essay, the entire essay suffers. So while attempting a piece of writing the effort should be to maintain unity between each and every phrase, each and every sentence and each and every paragraph.
Walters, F.C. (2000). Coherence and Unity. Retrieved Oct. 16, 2007 from