This package will help you to use a variety of grammatical and lexical tools to improve the structure, flow and connectivity of your English. In particular, the package will try to show you ways in which you can link your writing together more naturally and less awkwardly.


To begin with, look in your dictionary and find out exactly what the word ‘cohesion’ means.

Click on this button to check the definition.

How does this definition apply to your writing?

Click on this button to check how cohesion relates to your speaking and writing skills.

What we shall look in this package is how parts of a text and ideas are related and connected to each other.

One way of doing this is to think of a text as a kind of SUPER-SENTENCE in which everything is related.

What the super-sentence concept allows us to do is this: create texts and discourses which are naturally linked together.

For example look at the three sentences that you have just read.

  1. What does this refer to?

    this refers back to:
    What we shall look in this package is how parts of a text and ideas are related and connected to each other.

  2. What does in which refer to?

    in which refers both backwards and forwards to:
    ...think of a text as a kind of SUPER-SENTENCE... ...everything is related.

  3. Allows us to do what?

    ...allows us to do this refers forward to:
    ...create texts and discourses which are naturally linked together.

Cohesive devices

You can see that even in a relatively short extract, parts are related to each other within the context of the text as well as outside it. The words that we use to link these parts together are called cohesive devices. There are many different cohesive devices and methods used for achieving cohesion but in this package we shall focus our attention on:

  • Grammatical cohesion
    • Pronouns
    • Articles
    • Demonstratives
    • Quantifiers
    • Relative pronouns
  • Substitution
  • Parallel structures
  • Ellipsis

We shall also look at perhaps the most commonly used and unfortunately sometimes misused set of cohesive devices:

  • Transitional expressions – use, misuse and overuse

Pronouns – words such as they / it / my / her / them / ours... refer back to nouns or phrases, and therefore link sentences together.

Articles – a / an / the tell us whether something has been mentioned before or for the first time, they identify specific things and tell us whether they are generally known about either within a text or outside of it.

A man in a dark jacket and sunglasses walked past me. He stopped, looked back and then continued.

“Isn’t that the man we spoke to after dinner last night?” said Elly. “You know; the one in the lift.”

Demonstratives - this / that / these / those refer to things that have already been mentioned in the text.

Quantifiers - most / many / some / all / several / both / others … are often used in place of nouns to avoid repeating them.

Relative pronouns - who / which / where / that... allow us to connect or insert ideas within or between sentences.

Substitution / Word families – using synonyms, words of similar meaning and words from the same word family all provide links within a text.

I’m afraid we’re going to have to take action which means that some full-time staff will have their salaries frozen while others may have them cut. The reason for this is because of massive competition from overseas. We apologise to everyone at Cooper and Chan and shall try our best to minimize the negative effect on all of our employees.

Parallel structures – when a sentence pattern or other grammatical structure is deliberately repeated, we say the writing is parallel. Parallelism suggests similarity of meaning among the repeated elements and thus helps tie them together.

The key areas that need to be looked at are the financial, political and social implications of the government cuts.

Ellipsis – this aids cohesion by deliberately leaving out unnecessary words.

The results clearly show that the majority of boys enjoy playing football at school whereas few female students do.

Do what? Enjoy playing football.

Activity 1

Read this text and then drag the highlighted words and drop them next to the correct heading in the table.

Bachelors are very happy people who have many interests. This is because most single men have interesting jobs, travel frequently and are relatively wealthy. The average bachelor also has a lot of spare time because he doesn’t have a wife or any children to occupy all of his moments of relaxation. Some bachelors drive sports cars and go to casinos but most don’t, preferring to invest their money wisely in property, precious metals and the art world.



he doesn’t have

their money



The average bachelor

a lot of spare time

a wife


This is because



a lot of spare time

any children

Some bachelors

Relative pronouns



single men (for bachelors)

Parallel structures

have interesting jobs, travel frequently and are relatively wealthy

property, precious metals and the art world


most (bachelors)

don’t (drive sports cars or go to casinos)


Activity 2


Fox announced the two families would meet in an episode titled The Simpsons Guy, where the Griffins take a road trip and end up in Springfield.

Simpsons’ voice actors Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith and Hank Azaria will all guest-star in the instalment.

The show is scheduled to be broadcast in the US next autumn.

Fox said the episode will see the Griffins "greeted by a friendly stranger named Homer Simpson who welcomes his new 'albino' friends with open arms".

The families become fast friends with Stewie becoming obsessed with Bart‘s pranks, drinking and eating habits and his general anti-social behaviour while Lisa takes Meg under her wing, determined to find something at which she excels.

Meanwhile Marge and Lois ditch housework for a bonding session and Peter and Homer both fight over whose town has the better beer: Quahog's Pawtucket or Springfield's Duff.

Friendly rivalry

In its announcement, Fox offered reaction from the animated patriarchs.

"Fox hasn't spent this much money since it took Simon Cowell tight T-shirt shopping," Peter Griffin said.

Homer Simpson added: "Finally I can get my hands on this guy!"

The shows have poked fun at each other over the years - one episode of the Simpsons features Italian police looking through a book of criminals, in which Peter Griffin's picture appears.

Another episode of Family Guy features a dozen Simpson characters sitting on the jury where Peter is standing trial for drug possession.

However, the rivalry has grown more friendly recently, with Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane voicing a prominent character in the The Simpson's 24th series finale.


Transitional expressions

As we have already seen, readers can easily get confused when a text lacks cohesion because they cannot make the connection between one point and the next, tell which ideas are the most important or see how ideas and concepts are related.

One of the most commonly taught language tools employed to link the pieces of a text or discourse together are transitional expressions, more often referred to as conjunctions or connectives. One effective way of studying connectives is to categorise them under functional headings.

Activity 3


Function Transitional expression

besides this

Giving Examples

for instance





Stating consequences

as a result

Giving reasons

because of

Sequencing in time


Sequencing in order

to begin with

Emphasising / Expressing certainty


Explaining / Repeating

that is

Stating conditions



in brief


Glossary of transitional expressions

Adding - also, and, as well as, besides this / that, equally important, further, furthermore, in addition, likewise, moreover, too, not only …but also, again, additionally, what’s more

Giving examples - for example, for instance, specifically, such as, that is, to illustrate this, a good example of this is, in particular, particularly, namely

Contrasting - but, conversely, despite this, even though, however, in contrast, by contrast, conversely, notwithstanding, on the one hand / on the other hand, still, although, though, whereas, while, whilst, yet, nevertheless, compared with / to, in comparison with, on the contrary, in spite of this, cheaper, easier / more expensive, more difficult / less expensive, less difficult than, instead of, in spite of, otherwise

Comparing - likewise, similarly, also, in the same way, in comparison to, both in comparison with, compared with / to

Stating consequences - accordingly, as a result, consequently, for this reason, since, as, so, then, therefore, thus, owing to this, in view of the fact that , depending on, led to, caused by, the result of, a consequence of, resulted in

Giving reasons - because, since, as, due to, owing to, the reason why, one reason for this is, due to the fact that, owing to the fact that, because of

Sequencing in time - afterwards, at the same time, before, firstly / secondly, formerly, lastly, finally, later, meanwhile, next, now, presently, today/yesterday/last week/next year, subsequently, then, until, ultimately, while, historically, in the end, eventually, ago, in 5 days / 2 hours (time), from this point on(wards)

Sequencing in order - first, second etc…, to begin/start with, initially, at first, then, next, from there, and then, following this, finally, lastly, in conclusion, to conclude, moving on, firstly,/secondly

Emphasising / Expressing certainty - indeed, certainly, in fact, of course, clearly, undoubtedly, plainly, obviously, above all, more/most importantly, significantly

Explaining / Repeating - in other words, that is to say, what this means is, that is, again, in other words, to repeat, to explain

Stating conditions - if. . . then, unless, whether, provided that, although, even if, therefore

Summarising - finally, in conclusion, in short, to sum up, in summary, in conclusion, overall, in short, in brief, to sum up, all in all, to put it differently, to summarize, on the whole

Misuse of transitional expressions

One of the main problems with the way cohesion is taught is the mechanical and ill-thought out use of transitional expressions. This activity will test your ability to distinguish and selectively use appropriate cohesive devices to produce a more natural piece of writing.

Activity 4

Read the following love letter and then answer the analytical questions that follow by clicking on the green or red button.

My Dearest Kitty-kins

I love you. I always will. You are always there for me. I shall never leave you. You can rely on that.

I pledge my heart and soul to you. You are the only one for me. I cannot live without you. I see you in my thoughts all the time. I cannot imagine us apart. I want to get married. I want us to have a family. I want us to grow old. I want us to be happy.

These words I give to you. This love I offer. All that is mine to give, is yours’ to take.

All my love always and forever

Sexy Cedric XXXXXXXX


  1. YES
  2. SHORT
  3. NO
  4. NO


Activity 5

Now compare the previous version with the one below by answering the questions that follow.

Nowadays, Kitty, love is very important. To begin with, I love you and in terms of the future, I shall continue to do so. One reason that I love you is that you are always there for me and as a result I shall never leave you and it is important to point out that this is something upon which you can rely.

Another point that I would like to make is that I pledge my heart and soul to you as you are the only one for me. Moreover, I cannot live without you and because of this, I see you in my thoughts all of the time. Furthermore, I cannot imagine us apart and so firstly, I want to get married and then I would like us to have a family. Besides this, I want us to grow old and be happy together.

In conclusion, these words I give to you in addition to the love that I offer. And so, last but not least, all that is mine to give, is yours’ to take.



  1. YES
  2. YES
  3. --- (ie. there is no right or right answer for this question)
  4. NO


Activity 6

Finally, can you re-write this love letter more cohesively? When you’ve finished, click on the SUBMIT button and compare your answer with our final version.

Your's Answers: Possible Answers:

Dear Kitty

I am writing because I love you and I always will. I know you are always there for me and so you can rely on me never to leave you.

I just cannot live without you. I see you in my thoughts all the time and that’s how I know you’re the only one for me.

I can never imagine us apart which is truly why I want to get married. I want us to have a family together, grow old together and be happy together. What I’m trying to say is that I pledge my heart and soul to you.

These words which I give to you and this love which I offer, show that all that is mine to give, is yours’ to take.

Love always


Activity 7

Now read the text below on the subject of ‘Love’ and answer the multiple choice questions that follow by clicking on the correct answer.

“That crazy little thing called love”.

Every popular song is about it, half our books and films obsess over it, everybody wants it. But when we come to ask what love is, we are overwhelmed by a myriad of different ideas and experiences. On the one hand, love can lift us up; on the other, it can destroy us. The problem is further compounded because we generally also feel tremendous love for our mothers, our children, our friends - even chocolate. Or maybe especially chocolate. How can one little word cover so many different nuances of feeling? More importantly, if love means different things to different people, how can we ever effectively communicate it?

Scientists have been trying to define love according to their frame of reference for a very long time. The pioneering sexologist Havelock Ellis provided a famous but entirely incorrect mathematical formula: love = sex + friendship. Freud dismissed romantic love as the sex urge, blocked. Social biologists have scanned our brains and identified three chemicals - dopamine, phenyl ethylamine and oxytocin - which they claim attract us exclusively to our mates for long enough, in their opinion, to conceive and give the offspring a secure start.

All of this is mildly diverting, but of no use when someone looks into your eyes and tells you that they love you. Dictionaries are not much help either. They list almost two dozen definitions - including affection, fondness, caring, liking, concern, attraction, desire and infatuation. We all instinctively agree there is a huge difference between liking and complete infatuation. What we need is a new definition, something to help us negotiate and understand all the different types of this complex emotion.


  1. love
  2. the contrasting emotions that love can bring about
  3. all of the above
  4. than everything that comes before it
  5. the scientific definitions of love
  6. Dictionaries
  7. everybody


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