Writing cohesively - by oo0261c


									Writing cohesively - . Using reference words

 Using reference words
 This section explains the system used to refer forward or backward from where you are in a
 text to other words or concepts. You use reference words to show the connections between
 ideas, giving greater cohesion and clarity to your writing.

 You will already be familiar with the word ‘reference’, meaning conventions for acknowledging authors or
 documents you have used in your research and reading. You ‘reference’ these authors when you quote
 them or paraphrase them. (See Module 2, Unit 3: Quoting and paraphrasing).

 However, the term reference is also used to refer to a system of creating cohesion in a text. Reference
 words point backwards or forwards to other words or concepts that have already appeared in the text or
 are about to appear in the text.

 In the majority of cases, the word has already occurred in the text i.e. the reference word is pointing

     In this sentence, these is a reference word pointing back to phases in the preceding sentence.

     In this sentence, those is a reference word pointing forwards to the changes requiring only a moderate
     level of financial support.

     Reference words are important because they are another way you can strengthen the connections
     between different elements of your text and clarify the progression of ideas.

Categories of reference words

     There are six main kinds of reference words.
1. Personal pronouns

The personal pronouns are I, you, she, he, it, we, they.

Because an impersonal style of writing is strongly favoured by most academic disciplines, you may rarely
find yourself using pronouns like I, you and we.

The most commonly used personal pronouns in academic writing are it (referring to things) and they
(referring to either things or people). In academic writing, ‘things’ are usually phenomena and abstract
nouns, and people are usually previous researchers. He and she may also be used, usually to refer to
authors previously mentioned in the text.


2. Possessive pronouns

The possessive pronouns show a relationship of ownership or ‘belonging to’. They are: my, mine, your,
yours, his, her, hers, its, our, ours, their, theirs.
    As with personal pronouns, my and our are not commonly used in academic writing. The most
    commonly used possessive pronouns in academic writing are its, their, his, her.


              Component                                                Function
                                                To introduce and clearly state the main idea/point that you
Topic sentence(s)
                                              intend to develop
                                                 To preview for the reader the kinds of information that the
                                              rest of the paragraph is likely to contain
                                                 To link back to your thesis or the immediately preceding

Development or elaboration of ideas              To elaborate the new idea or point that you have introduced.
                                              Elaboration may include analysis, exemplification and
                                              persuasion, or any combination of these.

Concluding sentence(s)                          To round off what you have said so far in your paragraph
                                                To qualify the views expressed
                                                To link the current paragraph to the next paragraph

    So, you can see that paragraph
    structure is like a mini-version of
    other writing structures, with an
    introduction, a body and a

    3. Demonstratives
Demonstratives are similar to personal and possessive pronouns in that they refer to
nouns usually already present in the text. However, they have a stronger pointing
quality – they identify (point at) exactly which thing or things are being referred to.

The most common demonstratives are: this, that (singular), these, those (plural),


4. Comparatives

Comparatives are sometimes used as pronouns and sometimes as adjectives. You do
not need to be able to distinguish the two because, in both cases, they are being used
to refer to something or someone in the text.

Comparatives include words like: another, other, both, similar, the same, better,
more, earlier, later, previous, subsequent.

5. The definite article ‘the’

The definite article the is often used to refer back to something which has already
been mentioned in the text and is now occurring for the second (or perhaps the third
or fourth) time.


The definite article can also be used to point (refer) forwards, although this is less
Note that the definite article is not always used referentially.


6. General reference

Usually a reference word is tied to a word, phrase or other grammatical element which
is clearly identifiable in the preceding or subsequent text.

However, sometimes a reference word refers back to an entire stretch of text –
perhaps even a paragraph or two - without referring to any one particular component
of it. In this case, the reference word has the function of summarising the preceding

The words most commonly used to do this are the demonstrative pronouns this and

Unit 2: Structuring paragraphs - 2. Typical structure of a paragraph

 Typical structure of a paragraph
 This section introduces you to the components of a typical paragraph and demonstrates how
 effective paragraphs are constructed. You will see how the component parts of the paragraph
 work together to provide both internal consistency and the linkage of ideas and arguments
 across a text.

 A paragraph typically contains the following three components. While the first two of these components
 are always present, not every paragraph has a concluding sentence.

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