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Cohesion vs. Coherence: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Cohesion refers to the grammatical linking within a text, while coherence refers to the logical organization and flow of ideas.
Cohesion vs. Coherence

Key Differences

Cohesion and coherence are essential components of effective writing. Cohesion refers to the ways in which elements of a sentence or paragraph are connected to each other through linguistic devices, such as conjunctions, pronouns, and transitions, that tie the surface elements of a text together. Coherence, on the other hand, deals with the underlying logical relationships and meaning that link ideas in a text, ensuring that it is understandable and follows a consistent argument or narrative. Cohesion can be observed in the grammatical and lexical ties within a text, ensuring each sentence or idea connects to what precedes or follows. Coherence is achieved when a text makes sense as a whole, with clear and logical progression of thoughts where each part contributes to the overall message or argument.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
Cohesion is often marked by the use of explicit linguistic devices that provide connections between sentences and paragraphs, helping the reader to see the relationship between different parts of the text. Coherence, however, is more abstract, relying on the reader's ability to infer relationships that are not always signaled by explicit linguistic means, but are derived from the context and the readers' background knowledge. A text can be cohesive with the use of linking words and phrases, yet still lack coherence if the ideas are not well-organized or do not logically follow one another. Conversely, a coherent text may not always exhibit overt signs of cohesion, but its ideas are connected in a clear, logical fashion.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
Cohesion is concerned with the micro-level of the text, focusing on the connections that can be seen and identified within the text, such as synonyms, antonyms, and ellipsis that help create a smooth reading experience. Coherence addresses the macro-level, where the structure of an argument, the development of a narrative, and the organization of information are paramount. It is possible to identify cohesion through the repeated use of keywords or phrases, while coherence is perceived through the text's overall clarity and the effectiveness with which it communicates its message. Cohesion provides a text with the necessary threads to hold it together, while coherence ensures that the text unfolds in a meaningful and purposeful way.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
In conclusion, cohesion and coherence work hand in hand to produce texts that are not only connected on a surface level but also exhibit a clear, logical, and understandable progression of ideas. Cohesion can be enhanced by various linguistic devices that bind the text together, such as cohesive ties, repetition, and parallelism. Coherence is enhanced by the logical organization of the text, the clear development of themes, and the strategic use of information to build a compelling narrative or argument. Effective writing relies on both cohesion and coherence to be both intelligible and persuasive, allowing the reader to follow the writer's line of thought without confusion.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Comparison Chart

Focus

Grammatical and lexical connections within the text.
Logical flow and clarity of ideas in a text.
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Devices Used

Conjunctions, pronouns, transitions, synonyms, ellipsis.
Organizational patterns, logical arguments, contextual understanding.
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Visibility

Often visible through language use and can be specifically identified.
More abstract, recognized by the sense of the text as a whole.
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Level of Text

Operates at a micro-level (sentence to sentence).
Operates at a macro-level (whole text or paragraph structure).
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Purpose

Ensures the text is linked and 'sticks together'.
Ensures the text is understandable and makes logical sense.
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Cohesion and Coherence Definitions

Cohesion

Cohesion in writing is achieved through a network of lexical, grammatical, and other relations.
His report lacked cohesion due to the random arrangement of points.
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Coherence

Coherence means that the ideas in a text are connected and flow logically.
The coherence of the article made it a compelling read.
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Cohesion

Cohesion is the property of unity in writing.
The essay's cohesion was evident in its consistent use of transitional phrases.
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Coherence

Coherence is when the parts of a text come together to make sense.
Her speech had coherence, each point smoothly leading to the next.
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Cohesion

Cohesion is the feature that helps sentences link together.
She used conjunctions effectively to give her writing cohesion.
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Coherence

Coherence is the quality that makes a text understandable and meaningful.
His explanations lacked coherence, leaving the audience confused.
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Cohesion

The act, process, or condition of cohering
Exhibited strong cohesion in the family unit.
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Coherence

The quality or state of cohering, especially a logical, orderly, and aesthetically consistent relationship of parts.
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Cohesion

(Physics) The intermolecular attraction by which the elements of a body are held together.
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Oct 19, 2023

Coherence

(Physics) The property of being coherent, as of waves.
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Cohesion

(Botany) The congenital union of parts of the same kind, such as a calyx of five united sepals.
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Coherence

The quality of cohering, or being coherent; internal consistency.
His arguments lacked coherence.
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Cohesion

State of cohering, or of working together.
Unit cohesion is important in the military.
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Coherence

The quality of forming a unified whole.
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Cohesion

Various intermolecular forces that hold solids and liquids together.
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Coherence

A logical arrangement of parts, as in writing.
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Cohesion

(biology) Growing together of normally distinct parts of a plant.
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Coherence

The property of having the same wavelength and phase.
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Cohesion

(software engineering) Degree to which functionally related elements in a system belong together.
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Coherence

A semantic relationship between different parts of the same text.
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Cohesion

(linguistics) Grammatical or lexical relationship between different parts of the same text.
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Coherence

A sticking or cleaving together; union of parts of the same body; cohesion.
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Cohesion

The act or state of sticking together; close union.
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Coherence

Connection or dependence, proceeding from the subordination of the parts of a thing to one principle or purpose, as in the parts of a discourse, or of a system of philosophy; a logical and orderly and consistent relation of parts; consecutiveness.
Coherence of discourse, and a direct tendency of all the parts of it to the argument in hand, are most eminently to be found in him.
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Cohesion

That from of attraction by which the particles of a body are united throughout the mass, whether like or unlike; - distinguished from adhesion, which unites bodies by their adjacent surfaces.
Solids and fluids differ in the degree of cohesion, which, being increased, turns a fluid into a solid.
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Coherence

The state of cohering.
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Cohesion

Logical agreement and dependence; as, the cohesion of ideas.
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Coherence

The state of cohering or sticking together
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Cohesion

The state of cohering or sticking together
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Oct 19, 2023

Coherence

Logical and orderly and consistent relation of parts
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Cohesion

(botany) the process in some plants of parts growing together that are usually separate (such as petals)
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Coherence

Coherence refers to the logical organization of ideas in writing.
The coherence in his narrative made the complex topic easy to follow.
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Cohesion

(physics) the intermolecular force that holds together the molecules in a solid or liquid
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Coherence

Coherence is the clear and orderly presentation of ideas in a paragraph or essay.
Despite the complexity of the ideas, the coherence of the essay was impressive.
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Cohesion

Cohesion refers to the use of connective elements within a text.
Good cohesion makes a document easier to read and understand.
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Cohesion

Cohesion is the sticking together of a set of ideas in a text.
The cohesion among the paragraphs improved the flow of her argument.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is coherence more important than cohesion?

Both are important; coherence ensures logical flow, while cohesion provides clarity through connections within the text.
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Can a text be coherent but not cohesive?

Yes, if it has a logical flow of ideas but lacks grammatical connections, it can be coherent but not cohesive.
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How do you achieve cohesion in writing?

By using connectives, such as conjunctions, pronouns, and transitional phrases.
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Can a text have cohesion without coherence?

Yes, a text can have grammatical links but lack a logical flow of ideas, resulting in poor coherence.
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Is coherence subjective to the reader's understanding?

Partially, as different readers may understand the logical flow differently based on their background knowledge.
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Are cohesion and coherence necessary in spoken language?

Yes, they help in making spoken language clear and understandable.
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Is repetition a cohesive device?

Yes, repetition can reinforce connections between sentences and ideas.
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What role do transition words play in cohesion and coherence?

They help in creating both cohesion by connecting sentences and coherence by guiding the logical flow.
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How do paragraph structures contribute to coherence?

Clear paragraph structures help organize ideas logically, enhancing coherence.
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How important is consistency for coherence?

Very important; inconsistency can disrupt the logical flow, affecting coherence.
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How does punctuation contribute to cohesion?

Punctuation marks like commas and semicolons can indicate relationships between ideas, aiding cohesion.
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Can coherence be measured?

It's not quantifiable but can be assessed based on how logically ideas are organized and understood.
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Can dialogue in fiction impact cohesion and coherence?

Yes, it needs to flow logically and connect well with the surrounding text.
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Do paragraphs need cohesion and coherence?

Absolutely, they are vital for the readability and clarity of paragraphs.
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Does good cohesion automatically make writing coherent?

Not necessarily, as writing also needs a logical order and clear idea progression to be coherent.
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Are there tools to check for cohesion and coherence in writing?

While some software can check for cohesion to an extent, assessing coherence usually requires human judgment.
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Does a narrative need cohesion and coherence?

Yes, to ensure the story is understandable and engaging.
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Does genre affect the use of cohesion and coherence?

Yes, different genres may have varying standards for cohesion and coherence.
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Can imagery contribute to cohesion?

Imagery alone doesn't create cohesion, but consistent use of imagery can contribute to it.
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What's an example of a coherence problem in writing?

Jumping between unrelated topics without clear transitions can disrupt coherence.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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