Unity and coherence

Unity and Coherence


A unified paragraph focuses on one main idea. For example, if you are writing an essay bout the advantages of different types of pain medication, you should discuss only the advantages of them. Don’t discuss the disadvantageous or begin to discuss other kinds of medicine. If you are writing an entire essay about the advantageous of taking aspirin, then discuss only one advantage, such as heart health, in each paragraph.


In order for paragraphs to be well structured, they must also be coherent. The word coherence comes from the Latin verb “cohere”, which means to hold together. For coherence in writing, the sentences must hold together; that is, the movement from one sentence to the next must be logical and smooth. There must be no sudden jumps. Each sentence should flow smoothly into the next one.

Here are three ways to achieve coherence:

1- Repeat the key nouns.

2- Use consistent pronouns.

3- Use transition signals to link ideas.

Repetition of key nouns

In each paragraph or essay, there are some key words that must be repeated through the text.  One of the easiest ways to achieve coherence is to repeat key nouns or the key words frequently in your paragraph or essay. You should repeat a key noun instead of using a pronoun when the meaning is not clear. But notice that in some cases that it is obvious, you can use pronouns, too. 

Consistent pronouns

When you use pronouns, make sure that you use the same person and number throughout your paragraph. For example, don’t change from you to he(change of person) or from he to they (change of number).

Transition signals

  • Transition signals can be single words such as first, finally, and however, or phrases such as in conclusion, on the other hand, and as a result. There are different kinds of transition signals such as subordinators(when, although), coordinators( but, but), adjectives (another, additional), and prepositions(because of, in spite of).
  • Transition signals are like traffic signs; they tell your reader when to go forward, turn around, slow down, and stop. In other words, they tell your readers when you are presenting, for example, a similar idea(similarly, in addition), an opposite idea(on the other hand, but, in contrast), an example (for example), a result(therefore, as a result), or a conclusion(in conclusion).
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