To Be or Not to Be Coherent and Cohesive

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"When you create cohesive flow, you take the first step toward helping readers feel that your prose hangs together.  but they will judge you to be a competent writer only when they feel that your writing is not just cohesive but coherent," (Williams, 60).

This passage from Joseph Williams' book Style goes on to define the differences between cohesion and coherence.

I never thought of writing this way.  When writing with a cohesive feel, all of the sentences fit together; this I can understand.  I see how sometimes the sentences fit and thats great, but what happens next?  What's the next feeling?  Then I read how Williams described coherence.  For a sentence to have coherence, then all of the pieces which fit together, can be seen as adding up to something greater.  There are times when I can feel myself writing under pressure or having to just get a paper done and I always think my sentences sound great where I placed them.  Then, I will read the sentences later and think, "Wow, these sentences were well constructed but I have no idea where I was going with this."

Recently, I have been getting in the habit of taking time away from a paper, going back to it and rereading it while trying to pretend I am someone who has never read it before.  i do this so I can tell if the sentences flow and make sense together to reach my ultimate point.  It was nice to now read that it is possible to have some great sentences, all about the same subject, but no clear point.  I will definitely try to be as coherent as possible.


Cody Naylor said:

Megan, I agree with you. I never really thought about thinking of my whole essay like a big picture in which each sentence was a puzzle piece either, I like how Williams presented that. I think that by now we were kind of trained to think about our papers this way with all the ideas about theses that have been drilled in us since high school, but there was a lightbulb in my head that went off as soon as I finished this chapter.

Shellie Polly said:

I absolutely agree with what you said. You made a good point, and I think many of us feel this way. I do the same thing, while writing a paper you think it's good with the placing and all then you reread it and it's not as great as before. But the good thing is is that we have that sense to change it! We can save outselves.

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