Identifying and using referring words, substitutions and word associations

Cohesion in texts includes the use of connectives and conjunctions and more sophisticated texts effectively use a variety of referring words, substitutions, word associations and text connectives to improve the flow of the writing.

It refers to the use of linguistic devices to join sentences together, including conjunctions, reference words, substitution and lexical devices such as repetition of words (or synonyms), collocations and lexical groups. Students need to connect ideas in logical ways in order to display and build precise factual knowledge, develop their ideas to persuade more convincingly and express more complex relationships in their speech and writing.

Referring words

Referring words set up links by referring to sentences or the context that has just been mentioned to maintain continuity and avoid repetition. Other referring words include:

  • noun-pronoun chains
  • demonstrative pronouns: this, that, these, those, there, (is/are)
  • interrogative pronouns: who, which, what, whose, whom.

Activities to support the strategy

Activity 1: fill in the gaps

Activity One is a prerequisite for Activity Two

Students decide which label bests extends the topic sentence to add further information.

problem, issue, topic, question, aspect, solution, approach, fact, argument, view, point, situation, position

What do you think of animal rights? That’s quite a big ______________

We are running out of funds. How do you propose to solve the ______________?

Is there life on other planets? This is a ______________ nobody has answered yet.

You can do your presentation on any ______________ you prefer.

Iceland has taken the banks to court. This new ______________ to tackle the crisis is quite unusual.

Activity 2: growing paragraphs using referral words

Students write a sentence about the HSIE or Science content they are currently studying with a partner or small group. e.g.

  • Pollution is increasing.
  • We need to control the number of cars in our cities.
  • The government has been cutting down on the Education budget.

They then match the sentence with a suitable label from the following:

  • problem
  • issue
  • topic
  • question
  • aspect
  • solution
  • approach
  • fact
  • argument view
  • point
  • situation
  • position

This then allows students to add further information through the use of referral words.

  • Pollution is increasing. The PROBLEM is getting worse every day.
  • Do we need to control the number of cars in our cities? This is the biggest ISSUE we face today.
  • The government has been cutting down on the Education budget. You can’t ignore the FACT that the government has been cutting down on the Education budget.

Activity 3

Discuss words which replace verb, noun groups, and whole clauses using the following examples.

“so” replaces the clause “you would like one”
“Would you like one?”, “Yes I thought so.”

“did” identifies the past tense and the rest of the verb group “to stick a chicken bone through the bars of the cage” is left out (ellipsed)
Gretel told Hansel to stick a chicken bone through the bars of the cage. And he did.

“one” identifies the number and the rest of the noun group “pieces of fruit” is left out (ellipsed).
I've got two pieces of fruit. Do you want one?

“so” replaces the clause, “She was sick of cleaning up after them.”
She was sick of cleaning up after them. They heard her say so.

Choose a classroom text to draw coloured lines and highlight the noun the referring word replaces.

Activity 4

Other referring words include:

  • noun-pronoun chains
  • demonstratives: this, that, these, those, there
  • interrogative pronouns – who, which, what, whose, whom.

Students use the “RSPCA opposes crocodile hunting in NT” text to draw coloured lines and highlight the noun the referring word replaces. Other appropriate classroom texts can be used.

Alt text to be added
Image: Example of the highlighted noun that the referring word replaces.

References

Australian curriculum

ACELA1809: Understand how coherence is created in complex texts through devices like lexical cohesion, ellipsis, grammatical theme and text connectives.

NSW syllabus

EN4-4B: Makes effective language choices to creatively shape meaning with accuracy, clarity and coherence.

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