What is cohesion?

Cohesion refers to the way texts use grammar and vocabulary to ‘stick’ or ‘glue’ ideas together. This is done through articles (a/an/the), pronouns(it/this/these/that/those/etc..), word families (analyse/ analysis) / summary nouns(approach/trend/issue)and synonyms (effect/consequence). In addition to these above key areas, relative clauses, ellipsis and connectors are also important.


Pronouns: It / this / these / that / those / they

Example: Bristol is situated in the South west of the U.K. It has a population of 530,000 people.

Word forms

Using other forms of the key verb/noun:

Example:Jones (2016) analysed the data and found that …. This analysis provided evidence that…

Summary Nouns 

Using a noun [this/these + summary noun] to explain the key idea of the previous sentence.

Example: Many psychologists have been investigating the key reasons for divorce for many years. Their research / evidence seems to suggest that a lack of communication is one of the key issues.


Key examples of Summary Nouns:


Using a synonym to avoid word repetition of the previous sentence.

Example: Economists believe that the next financial crisis will be from Student Loan debt. This understanding / assumption / thought / knowledge is also shared with financial experts.

Relative clauses

Joining sentences together using relative clauses (which / that / where / who ) aids cohesion

According to Official Government figures (2016), 34 million people voted equating to a 72% turnout. This was the highest ever number of people in the history of voting.

Relative Clause Example: According to Official Government figures (2016), 34 million people voted equating to a 72% turnout which was the highest ever number of people in the history of voting.


Ellipsis indicates an intentional omission of a word, sentence, or whole section from a text without altering its original meaning. Relative Clause Example: There have been a number of important experiments on how video games encourage violence in adolescents.  Two of the most interesting (experiments) are based around Smith's (2018) work.

Cohesion & Coherence Worksheet - AEUK

This worksheet helps to consolidate what is 'cohesion' with a focus on pronouns, word forms and summary nouns. It also includes a coherence sheet on key connections and two practice activities. Example  Level: ***** [B2/C1] 



Coherence is concerned with how a writer guides the reader through the argument using logical connectors. It can be achieved by using signposting phrases. A signpost is a phrase that a writer or speaker uses to indicate different stages or parts of a written or spoken text

Example: In contrast to the conclusion drawn by Smith (2004), Nguyen (2006) showed that the connection between the factors was not causal in most circumstances.

Example: The main arguments for Brexit were to regain sovereignty, to cut immigration, and to remove restrictions of the single market to access global markets.

 Coherence Download - key language phrases

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