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A Brief Manual On How To Maintain Coherence In An Essay

Coherence in an essay is essential for any good essay. Anyone who grades an essay looks for this in order to evaluate the worth of the essay. Especially if you are creating the work for an English class, this is essential. Coherence is defined as forming a unified whole. In the context of an essay it means that all of its parts have to contribute to the meaning of the essay. Here are some ways to assure you get coherence in your essay.

  • Every paragraph, every sentence, every phrase has to contribute to your thesis statement. As you are writing your essay, remember there is no room for tangents in a well written essay. Everything you say should somehow contribute to your thesis. The only reason why you are writing anything in the essay is if it matters to try to explain or justify your thesis.
  • Your paragraph must have a topic sentence that directly relates to your thesis. Then every sentence after that must be breaking down your topic sentence or explaining it in better detail. The topic sentence is broad and then the supporting sentences to follow must substantiate the topic sentence or give it more detail. There should not be any sentences in the paragraph that have no bearing on the topic sentence.
  • Each sentence within a paragraph should have something to do with the sentence before. Some people go as far as making sure a word of one sentence is in the sentence before to ensure the sentences are related. Use transition words to ensure you are staying on topic. It is hard to use words like “also”, “therefore”, and “in addition to”, without there being some kind of connection.
  • Perhaps the most important way to ensure coherence is to create an outline of your essay. The first roman numeral of your essay should be your thesis statement. Then after that you can put the main points you intend to write that will prove your thesis or make your argument. After each one of your points you need to write at least two items that are substantiating each of your main points. Then as you write your essay, make sure you stay within your outline. If you stay within it, there is no way you can stray and you will naturally have coherence.

If you follow the above guidelines, you will have no problem creating coherence in your essays.



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