LING291 Cohesion Essay


Pre-writing tasks: This is where you analyse the text:

Look for the cohesive chains (ie the various chains of meaning) that operate within the text – the major chains as well as any minor ones.

Identify thecohesivedevices(lexical and grammatical) that help to set up and maintain those chains. Look for the ways in which the chains intersect to help the writer create a coherent and cohesive whole.



The Life to Come - this year’s Miles Franklin winner - is a brilliant character study by Jen Web is an ideal text that could be emulated by article writers to develop their cohesion skills in their writing. Webb carefully and creatively combines cohesion devices to come up with a flawless text that is easily understandable by the readers. The devices effectively link different thoughts and meanings occurring throughout the text. All the elements in the article work collaboratively to build up the greater idea of the lives of the characters in the novel, The Life to Come. The most evident forms of coherence in the text are grammatical coherence, lexical coherence and situational coherence. Essentially, Webb indirectly convinces that the novel deserved the win through a brief yet a very cohesive check on the characters in the novel.

The article highly relies on lexical devices to boost its coherence. There are numerous cases of repetition, hyponym, hypernym, collocation and lexical scatter. The word “life” which is the major subject in the novel is repeated in various paragraphs. It first appears in the title, then in the first sentence, in the epigraph and multiple times in the rest of the text. The repetitive use of “life” in the text is also accompanied by several lexical scatters from the word. These scatters include live, lives, lived, living and life-like. Character, characters and characterisation are also lexical scatters within the article.

The hyponyms and hypernyms used in the article establish a connection between the details and the larger structure. Both characters and story are elements of a novel (hypernym). The character traits stated (thoughtless, likeable and kind) are hyponyms of characterisation (Webb, 2018). The outlined features of characters are also hyponyms for characterisation. The characters are described as three-dimensional, complex and absorbing. The features also bring about the idea of collocation. Complex characters are much likely to be three-dimensional. Synonyms such as likeable and admirable combined with the antonym frustrate are cohesive devices.

Grammatically, the text follows all the structural and logical rules. Webb starts the article by outlining the epigraph that Krester uses to introduce the novel. This follows after she has stated the name of the publication and its author. Ideally, this logical arrangement of ideas contributes hugely to the structure of the article. The consistent use of pronouns ‘she’ and ‘her’ to refer to the author enhances the coherence in the article (Webb, 2018). The text also reveals the use of other pronouns such as their, who, they, which and while. Most of these pronouns are anaphoras. This enhances cohesion in that the subject being referred to is easily identifiable in the entire text. The article also shows some incidences of ellipsis. Webb writes, “The focus on characters is important here; it relies not so”. In this case, she avoids the repetition of the phrase "the focus of the characters" and instead replaces it with "it". The use of the words 'begin, next and final' signals the transition from one step to another. Webb manages to arrange all the ideas in a rather logic manner that effortlessly triggers coherence. She starts by introducing the novel the author, the subject and then the characters. In the last stage, she gives her personal reflection and response to the ideas presented earlier. This is normally the recommended structure in writing.

In the case of situational coherence, all the ideas in the article are building factors to overall topic stating that the novel has won a particular award. Webb tends to be indirectly convincing the audience that the novel was the best selection. In the bid to do this, she briefly explores the characters and the plot in the book. She also refers from renowned persons such as Shirley Hazzard. The entire text revolves around the novel, the characters, the author and the plot.

Conclusively, Webb outlines some of the facts that led to the novel in question to win the award. Exploring various elements in the novel has helped bring out not only a coherent article but also a persuasive write-up. The article is much easy to follow and understand. All the cohesion devices work together to bring out the desired effect. From this activity, it is worth noting that writing should not be done blindly or by simply focusing on presenting thoughts and ideas. It should rather be an active activity seeking to logically and systematically present the ideas to ensure that the written text meets the set coherence standards.


Webb, J. (2018, August 26). The Life to Come - this year’s Miles Franklin winner - is a brilliant. Retrieved from The Conversation.

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