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Writing Coherent Paragraphs

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How do you create a good paragraph? A good paragraph has unity, is coherent, and is based on one or more methods of development. In the last post, I explained how to create a paragraph that has unity. In this paragraph, I will discuss how you can create a coherent paragraph.

Another way to create a good paragraph is to make it coherent. Your paragraph will be coherent when you use sentences that are related to each other in content and grammatical structure. When you do this, your writing will have a flow and smooth transition, each sentence will relate to the next. Here are the techniques for writing a coherent paragraph:

  • Use parallel structure.
  • Use pronouns.
  • Use repletion.
  • Use transitional expressions.

Parallel Structure

You can use parallel structures to help achieve coherence in a paragraph. Parallelism is created when you use grammatically equivalent forms in sequence within a paragraph. For instance, you could use three nouns in a series or three verbs in a series to make a point. Here is how to create parallel structures within a paragraph:

  1. Use parallel words, such as nouns or verbs. Example: He studied, researched, wrote, and published his masterpiece.
  2. Use parallel phrases. Example: He wrote to sooth the pain of the death and to remember what had happened on that fateful night.
  3. Use parallel clauses, such as dependent clauses. He wrote after the war, when the rubble had been cleared, where so many innocent civilians had perished.

Pronouns

You can create a coherent paragraph by using pronouns to refer back to preceding nouns in the paragraph. For instance, you can use:

  • He/she
  • They/their
  • It/its
  • This/that/those/these

 

Example:

The writer wrote a novel. He then sold it a publisher.

Repetition

You can also create a coherent paragraph by repeating important words. These can be nouns, verbs, or phrases.

Example

Democracy is government by the people, government for the people, and government of the people.

The important point to remember is to use repetition to repeat important words or phrases.

Transitional Expressions

You can create a coherent paragraph by using transitional words at the beginning of related sentences within the paragraph.Transitional words and phrases connect sentences and paragraphs to each other. Within a paragraph, transitions provide coherence. They give the sense that the paragraph contains one main idea. They also create a smooth flow from one sentence to the next, or bridge from one detail or supporting piece of information to the next.

Adding information also, and, as well, besides, equally important, finally, furthermore, in addition, moreover, then, too
Comparing ideas in like manner, in the same way, likewise, similarly
Conceding a point agreed, certainly, granted, obviously, of course, to be sure
Contrasting ideas at the same time, but, conversely, even so, even though, however, in contrast, nevertheless, nonetheless, on the one hand, on the other hand, still, yet
Providing an example as an illustration, as can be seen by, for example, for instance, in other words, namely, specifically, to illustrate
Relating time and order of ideas afterward, before, currently, eventually, finally, first, (second, third, fourth, fifth?), immediately, in the future, in the past, later, less important, meanwhile, most important, next, often, sometimes, soon, subsequently, then, today, when
Resulting from the previous idea accordingly, as a result, consequently, so, thereby, therefore, thus
Showing relative location adjacent, at the side, between, here, in the back, in the background, in the distance, in the foreground, in the front, nearby, there, to the side
Summarizing ideas finally, hence, in brief, in conclusion, in short, in summary, that is, that is to say, to sum up

 

Example

(Relating time and order of ideas)

I completed a number of tasks to become a writer. First, I learned the rules of grammar and punctuation and style. Next, I read many of the classic fiction books, such as The Sun Also Rises and 1984. As well, I took courses in creative writing, especially poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Then I found myself a job that allowed me to have time to write. Finally, I sat down each night after work and wrote for an hour. These decisions made all the difference.

The important points to remember are that you can create a coherent paragraph, one that has flow or bridge between ideas by using parallel structures, pronouns that refer back to preceding nouns, repetition of important words, and transitional words to begin related sentences.

In the next post, I will explain how to develop a paragraph.

If you have any questions or comments, please post them to this blog.

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2 Comments

  1. Fascinating material and advice on your site for someone like me who has just partly retired and begun lyric and creative writing seriously. I wish you well and will keep in touch. Thank you

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