Coherence: Synonyms and Pronouns

In addition to using a repeating word to effect sentence coherence, a writer can also use synonyms, pronouns, and repeating ideas.


The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which connects Brooklyn and Staten Island, was once the world’s longest suspension bridge. Its main span is 4,260 feet long. Verrazano-Narrows lost that title in 1981 to England’s Humber Bridge: Humber’s main span is 4,626 feet long. Since 1981, four other arches have been built that are even longer than Humber’s. Two of them are in China, but the longest one is in Japan. It’s the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, which is about 1,300 feet longer than the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

In the above paragraph, sentences are connected by

  • repeating “bridge”
  • using synonyms for bridge (span, arch)
  • using the names of bridges (Verrazano-NarrowsHumber, Akashi Kaikyo)
  • using a year (1981)
  • using pronouns (them, one, it)
  • revealing a bridge’s length (4,260′, 4,626′, and 1,300′ longer)

In addition, notice how the sample paragraph begins and ends with the same noun phrase (the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge). That’s a means of increasing a paragraph’s internal coherence.

Question: How else are the example’s sentences “coherently connected”?

Categories: Writing

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