Coherence And Unity In Essay

Editing for clarity, coherence and unity

Clarity means writing clearly so that the reader understands you. There are four common problems that interfere with clarity:

Coherence means making the connections from one idea to the next. We have many transition words and phrases in the English language: e.g. however, consequently, therefore, despite, and even though.

Unity means writing about one main idea.

 

 

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  1. Using two words when one will do:
    • Dead corpse: corpses are dead; therefore, dead is redundant. You should just say corpse.
    • Red in colour: red is a colour: therefore, in colour is redundant. You should just say red.
  2. Using unnecessary words and phrases:
    • This is because or this is important because or the fact of the matter is are unnecessary. Just omit these phrases.
  3. Causing ambiguity by incorrect word order
    • Also there are issues with compliance.
      should be

      There are also issues with compliance.
    • The twins were born in 1987 in the supermarket.
      should be
      The twins in the supermarket were born in 1987.
  4. Unclear references to pronoun antecedents
    • The teacher told the student his pen was not working. Whose pen was it the teacher’s or the student’s?

Each of these words and phrases has a specific meaning. Consequently, in order to write coherently, you need to do the following:

  • learn the transition words
  • learn to use transition words appropriately to make sure your reader connects your ideas the way that you want the ideas connected
  • learn how the rest of the sentence that follows is constructed grammatically.
  • One way to think about unity in writing is to imagine the circle below as your whole piece of writing. The circle contains your main idea / topic and all that you have written about that topic.
  • Inside that large circle are a number of smaller circles; these are the main ideas of your sections or paragraphs.
  • These secondary circles connect with the rim of the main circle and also connect with each other. The points of intersection are the transitions from the main idea to each of the secondary ideas, and from one section or paragraph to the next.
  • Then, inside those circles are more circles, all of which connect with the rim of the secondary circle and also with each other. These are the ideas / information / contained in each section or paragraph.

In this way, you create a picture with the words; it is a balanced and complete picture that will guide the readers as they read your document.

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