Connecting ideas

Cohesion is achieved by linking ideas or concepts and controlling threads and relationships across a whole text using referring words, text connectives, substitutions, word associations and ellipsis.

Contributing to cohesion are:

  • referring expressions
  • repetition (words and structures)
  • parallelism
  • semantic fields (lexical cohesion)
  • conjunctions.

Conjunctions and text connections

Conjunctions connect clauses within sentences. Conjunctions sit between clauses in compound sentences (such as 'and' or 'but') or they begin dependent clauses (such as 'because', 'when', 'if') in complex sentences. Text connectives sit outside clauses and connect sentences. They often begin sentences followed by a comma. Some examples follow.

  • Temporal – first, second, next, meanwhile, while, then, later, previously, finally, to conclude
  • Causal – consequently, due to, hence, accordingly
  • Additive – also, moreover, above all, equally, besides, furthermore, as well as, or, nor, additionally
  • Comparative – rather, elsewhere, instead, alternatively, on the other hand
  • Conditional – yet, still, although, unless, however, other wise, still, despite, nevertheless
  • Clarifying – in fact, for example, in support of this, to refute

For more information on cohesion, look at pages 91–92 of the NAPLAN 2012 Persuasive Writing Marking Guide (pdf, 7.4MB)

To model how connectives, conjunctions and referring words provide cohesion you could give students a copy of the exposition 'Traffic must be reduced in central Sydney' to look at the cohesive devices used in the text. If students are not already familiar with all of these text features it would be better to look at them one at a time. A plain text for use on an interactive whiteboard is also provided.

Exposition: Traffic must be reduced in central Sydney

Exposition – Traffic must be reduced in central Sydney (plain text)

Guide students’ understanding of cohesion by asking them in pairs to identify these cohesive features in a text currently being studied. Once students have correctly identified the features you can ask them to use the features when creating their own texts as in Activity 1.

Activity 1: deconstruct and reconstruct text

When students have taken notes or summarised a text have them reconstruct the text or write a review of the text from their notes without reference to the original text. Ask students to focus on paragraphing separate ideas and using referring words and text connectives to make the text cohesive.

8 ways and quality teaching describes how to deconstruct and reconstruct a text.

References

Australian curriculum – ACELA1570: Expressing and developing ideas: Analyse how higher order concepts are developed in complex texts through language features including nominalisation, clause combinations, technicality and abstraction.

NSW syllabus – EN5-3B: Analyse how higher order concepts are developed in complex texts through language features including nominalisation, clause combinations, technicality and abstraction.

NSW literacy continuum – Vocabulary knowledge, Cluster 16, Marker 2: Uses and interprets complex, formal, impersonal language in academic texts.

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