Cohesion concerns the flow of sentences and paragraphs from one to another. It involves the tying together of old information and new. When we write academic essays, particularly in the humanities, we work hard to foster cohesion structurally, which enhances a reader's understanding of our ideas.

Essay organization

The first paragraph should include a thesis statement, which announces the main idea or argument of the paper.The rest of the sentences should lead up to or anticipate the thesis, either directly or indirectly.

The body paragraphs should support the thesis statement and should be arranged in a clear hierarchy.

Readers should be able to understand how each paragraph relates to what has come before it. This can be accomplished by the use of transition sentences.


Repetition helps to enhance a reader's understanding of what the author has written. Pointers are used as a tool in sentences to use repetition for better understanding.

Pointers are words, phrases, or ideas that appear in a sentence, and are repeated in the next.

Example: Epilepsy is a brain or neurological disorder where excess electrical energy causes seizures. Seizures result when the brain's nerve cells, or neurons, produce an excessive or abnormal amount of electrical activity.Depending on this activity

Example: Depending on this activity, three results may occur. First,the seizure may start and stop in one location. Next, it may spread a bit and stop. Finally, it may go through the body's nervous system before stopping.

To prevent repetitions from becoming dull, an author may use:

  • Variations of the word (golf, golfer, golfing)
  • Pronouns (doctors…they)
  • Synonyms (jump, hop, bounce)


Transitional words and phrases, also known as “tags,” are used to hold a paper together.They can be simple conjunctions, like and and but, or they can be more complex. Here is a chart of transitional devices accompanied by a simplified definition of their function:

Transition Function
Addition again, also, and, and then, besides, equally important, finally, first, further, furthermore, in addition, in the first place, last, moreover, next, second, still, too
Comparison also, in the same way, likewise, similarly
Contrast although, and yet, at the same time, but at the same time, despite that, even so, even though, for all that, however, in contrast, in spite of, instead, nevertheless, notwithstanding, on the contrary, on the other hand, otherwise, regardless, still, though, yet
Concession granted, naturally, of course
Emphasis certainly, indeed, in fact, of course
Example/illustration after all, as an illustration, even, for example, for instance, in conclusion, indeed, in fact, in other words, in short, it is true, of course, namely, specifically, that is, to illustrate, thus, truly
Summary all in all, altogether, as has been said, finally, in brief, in conclusion, in other words, in particular, in short, in simpler terms, in summary, on the whole, that is, therefore, to put it differently, to summarize
Time sequence after a while, afterward, again, also, and then, as long as, at last, at length, at that time, before, besides, earlier, eventually, finally, formerly, further, furthermore, in addition, in the first place, in the past, last, lately, meanwhile, moreover, next, now, presently, second, shortly, simultaneously, since, so far, soon, still, subsequently, then, thereafter, too, until, until now, when
Place/direction above, below, father on, nearby, to the right
Relationships therefore, so, consequently, for this reason, since