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Connecting ideas

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A text is cohesive when the sentences within a paragraph and the paragraphs within a text are written in a sequence that supports one point at a time and which enables a smooth flow of sentences and paragraphs.

Cohesion can be achieved through the use of transitional words and phrases which show the logical relationship between ideas. Cohesion can also be achieved by using language which makes explicit the relationships between words.

Repeat key words from sentence to sentence, and from paragraph to paragraph, e.g.: "Consideration has had to be given to new and different means of assisting staff to acclimatise to foreign conditions. The means typically used have been..."

Use demonstrative pronouns to refer to a key word or expression already mentioned, e.g.: "this report", "these experiments".

Use a synonym for a preceding key word/expression/concept (which may be the entire preceding paragraph), e.g.: "Isabel's uncontained fears, which prevent her from thinking about her inadequacies and needs, to a great extent shape the action of the story. The narrative is, at one level, an examination of the kinds of evasion and distortion Isabel attempts."

Making transitions

You can make use of logical connectors or transitional words to make it easier for your reader to see the links from paragraph to paragraph, and from sentence to sentence.

It often makes your work read better if these are NOT used at the beginning of a sentence, e.g. "It is clear, however, ..."; "The result is thus similar to ...".

Note: The unmarked words are typically found at the beginning of a sentence or clause. The words below with * can be used not just at the beginning but also within sentences.

Addition Contrast Reason Comparison Sequence Consequence
In addition However* So that* Similarly First,
Second,
etc.
Therefore*
Furthermore Yet* In order to* Likewise Last, Finally As a result*
Moreover* On the other hand* Since* In the same way In summary Thus*
Although* As* Equally In conclusion So*
Whereas* So* Because of
In contrast* Because of* For this reason
For this reason

NOTE: Don't overuse linking words.

How effectively - or ineffectively - have transitional words been used in the following example?

Example 1 (Accounting)

Inaccuracy of Product Costing System

Industry trends and automation of some production departments at Rossford Plant have caused management to think about their existing product costing - whether or not it is still applicable to the product. (1) However, it was found that current product costing approach undercosted some products i.e. small lites, despite the fact that the cost of cutting and bending each unit to its necessary shape was not proportionate to the size. (2) Consequently, the additional cost of small units was assigned into large units to make mark-up profit.

(3) Furthermore, each unit of small lite consumed more resources than anticipated by the costing approach. This resulted in a higher plant cost than budgeted. The proportion of factory overheads allocated to the Rossford Plant differed ignificantly from other departments because of different production line systems in different plants.

(4) In addition, a single indirect cost pool was allocated to the fabrication (fan) facility rather than allocating the multiple indirect cost pool to drive the cost of the plant. The allocation bases for overhead costing were not the actual driver of the cost.

(5) Moreover, the product mix assigned to the plant was incorrect because allocation of product costing was based on size instead of resources being used. (6) Thus, making smaller units should still be considered in the product mix even though it makes a loss.

Do not use double connectives: e.g. "Although the price of the product has been reduced, but sales have not increased". Here, either connective can be used, but not both.

Comments

The following changes allow the rationale of the Plant's approach and the logic of the argument to be disentangled:

(1) However
Omit OR replace with "After reviewing the costing ..."

(2) Consequently
Replace with "As a result of this ..."

(3) Furthermore
OK

(4) In addition
Replace with "An additional problem was ..."

(5) Moreover
Replace with "Finally, ..."

(6) Thus
Replace with "Thus, it can be concluded that/it is recommended that ..."

Find out more about connectorsOpens in a new window in English writing.

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