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What Is a Cohesive Academic Essay?

In a cohesive essay, all the parts stick together. Readers clearly understand what you are writing about and how you get from point to point. You probably know that a good essay should include an introduction, a body and a conclusion, but once you’ve made sure those main elements are there, try revising your essay to check for cohesive markers – the glue that binds them into a unified whole.

Signposting and structure

An essay’s introduction should include your thesis statement and main points, usually at the
end of the introductory paragraph. By stating the argument and your points, you are telling the readers what information comes next and in what order they can expect it to come. Each paragraph in your essay’s body should have a topic sentence that deals with one of your main points, and you should finish dealing with one main point before moving to the next one.


Readers will follow your thoughts more quickly if you use transitions. Transitions can signal that you are adding information to a previous thought; “and,” “also,” and “moreover” all perform this function. The terms “however,” “on the other hand,” and “while” can indicate contrast or disagreement. Casual transitions suggest that one thing results from another. These are “because,” “as a result of,” and “therefore.” It is also important to note sequential transitions, such as “next,” “to begin with,” “eventually,” “then.” The table below will help you to see the groups of transitions to link sentences in cohesive academic essays together:

Repeating key words

To tie paragraphs, sentences and even parts of sentences together, check whether or not you are using similar or the same key words. In this article’s section on “Transitions,” for example, the word “transitions” appears four times. Instead of using that key word a second, third and fourth time, the section could have used the phrases: “They can signal…,” “Casual ones…,” “some…” However, repeating the word “transitions” ensures each sentence’s subject is clear. If you find yourself using different key words that confuse readers, consider replacing some of them with the main key word that you have chosen for the paragraph.

Staying on track

Even if it’s using strong cohesive markers, your essay might veer from its argument by including unnecessary information. When you revise, ask yourself whether all the evidence and discussion that you include is strictly relevant to the thesis statement. Perhaps one of your body paragraphs includes an interesting statistic that you have tied into the paragraph with a transition such as “also,” but the statistic is only tangentially related to the point at hand. Removing such distractions from your main argument strengthen your essay’s logical coherence and helps to convince readers of your point.

Proofread your cohesive essay

Almost any first draft of an essay has to be polished and developed, as even super-skilled authors cannot compile a 100% cohesive text from the first attempt. After you finish writing your essay’s content, go through the whole text for the first time slowly and pay attention to all keywords and transitions mentioned earlier. By patiently reviewing, you will see clearly which parts of your essay require polishing and editing. We assume that you kept your audience in mind, but now you need to try to look at your writing from the point of view of the readership. Maybe some parts of transitions should be excluded from the text? Make sure that the transitions correlate with the type of narrative you have. Then you will require a second attempt at editing. You will have to proofread your cohesive essay and take care of grammar, punctuation, styling, etc. This step is among the vital ones, as nobody wants to get low grades because they were inattentive.

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