Back To CourseEnglish Grammar Rules
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Cohesion is a word that we use to describe unity or togetherness. In other words, things that are cohesive fit together. Think about an army. For an army to be effective, it must have cohesion. Good soldiers, a strategic general, and strong communication all mesh to create a united, cohesive organization.
Cohesive sentences are a lot like cohesive armies. They have good soldiers (like a noun and a verb), a strategic general (a writer who carefully places words in all the right spots), and strong communication (sentence and paragraph transitions make sense).
One of the greatest challenges of the English language is writing strong sentences. It takes practice. In this lesson, you'll learn about the components of cohesive sentences so that you can practice cohesive writing.
Every cohesive sentence in English must have a noun, or a subject, like a person place or thing, and a verb, or an action. It should be an independent sentence, meaning the sentence is full and complete, not a fragment or a partial sentence. These are the good soldiers.
Let's take a look at an example of a cohesive sentence:
This sentence has a noun, 'I' and a verb, 'am.' It's cohesive, but it's not a great sentence because it doesn't give much information other than the condition of your existence.
Let's keep going and add on more information to our sentence:
Our sentence is beginning to make more sense. So not only does a cohesive sentence have a noun and a verb, a cohesive sentence makes sense. This is the strategic general giving direction. This sentence makes sense, but what happens next?
Let's take our cohesive sentence and add other sentences:
These sentences no longer make sense. There is no strong communication between the sentences. These sentences are not cohesive because they are not coherent. A cohesive sentence must have a noun and a verb, but it also must make sense and it must flow with other sentences. Without this flow, a cohesive sentence will not fit into a longer paragraph. So while a cohesive sentence must be an independent sentence with a noun and a verb, it must also agree with other sentences around it to be both cohesive and coherent.
Now let's look at our sentence and make it cohesive and coherent:
This sentence is part of a quote from Alexander the Great, one of the most celebrated and famous leaders in human history. It's cohesive, coherent, and can stand alone. By repeating the words and the main idea, Alexander said that a weak army with a strong leader is much better than a strong army with a weak leader. While both parts of the sentence could be independent (they have a noun and verb), the parts of the sentences combined make a powerful cohesive sentence.
In addition to being an independent sentence, having cohesion and flowing with the sentences around it, a cohesive sentence can include a cohesive pronoun, transition word, correlative conjunction, and conjunctive adverb usage.
In a cohesive sentence, a pronoun, a word that takes the place of a noun, must agree with the subject. For example:
Someone, the subject, is singular, and therefore the pronoun 'he' must be singular as well. Most people are uncomfortable writing 'he' as it sounds non-inclusive of 'she' and write 'they' instead.
Transition words are signals to the reader that a shift is coming in a sentence. There are additive transitions (like 'also,' 'for example,' and 'with regards to'), adversative transitions (like 'however' and 'on the other hand'), causal transitions ('due to,' 'consequently,' and 'thus') and sequential transitions ('first of all,' 'next,' and 'in summary'). By using these many transitions, the writer shows the reader movement in thought, the flow of the writing, and even the conclusion of the entire written piece.
Correlative conjunctions in cohesive sentences can connect two ideas or subjects and include both/and, neither/nor, either/or, and not only/but also. They are essential to cohesive sentences to connect different subjects and express relationships between the two.
Be careful. There must be parallelism, matching grammatical structures, and the verbs in the sentence must agree with the subjects.
Conjunctive adverbs (and there are many, like moreover, nevertheless, and also) are words that modify and connect verbs in a cohesive sentence. In a way, they function like transition words but modify verbs. They are usually, but not always, introduced by a main clause + semi-colon (;) + conjunctive adverb + comma (,) + main clause.
A cohesive sentence must be able to stick together. It must have cohesion: the ability to stand alone as an independent sentence. A cohesive sentence always has a noun and a verb. A cohesive sentence must make sense. A cohesive sentence must flow with the sentences around it. A cohesive sentence must be coherent and fit with other sentences around it. Pronouns (I, you, he, she, it, we, they) must agree in cohesive sentences. Cohesive sentences also use transition words, correlative conjunctions, and conjunctive adverbs.
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Back To CourseEnglish Grammar Rules
12 chapters | 304 lessons
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