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Writing in the Second Language Class

Coherence and cohesion in student writing

Students' writing often fails in the area of logic:
For example, they may be able to write two grammatical accurate, but non-sequitor sentences.

Attention should therefore be given in the writing class to rhetorical organisation.

See books on methods of topic development within paragraph and essay writing: e.g. listing, enumeration, exemplification, contrast & comparison, exposition, chronology.

There is a need to teach coherence as well as cohesion. See exercises on this site on logical connectors (e.g. and, but, so, because) and logical cohesive devices or discourse markers (e.g. moreover, however, on the other hand, alternatively).

Practice exercises targeted at logical expression:

Books for essay & report writing

Academic Writing: A Handbook for International Students by Stephen Bailey for learners who need to write essays and reports for exams and coursework.

From Paragraph to Essay: Developing Composition Writing by Maurice L. Imhoof and Herman Hudson - an old book, but one of the best I have seen for providing examples of topic development and methods of organising a paragraph.

Academic Writing Practice for IELTS by Sam McCarter.

Writing A Report by John Bowden - provides the basics for most kinds of report writing. Not a subject which is always well covered in schools.


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