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Cohesive Devices Exercises

By Linda Tarr Kent ; Updated June 13, 2017

Cohesive devices in language help you gain context, such as whether information is completely new, related to information in other sentences or is a reference to “old” information from a previous sentence. This helps make text coherent, in part, by indicating how information is relevant. Cohesive devices also help text or dialogue flow without being too repetitive. Exercises in cohesive devices helps you learn to write and speak in a new language or to teach your language to someone else.

Ellipsis Exercises

Exercises on ellipsis help you with common dialogue. An ellipsis occurs when something that is structurally necessary to a sentence is left unsaid. These frequently are used when a sentence is connected with words such as “and” or “but.” The beginnings of some clauses are left out because they would be repetitive. A good exercise with ellipsis is to rewrite a sentence to include the missing parts. For example, ”Joe is taller than Amy, but shorter than Mark and Bill,” becomes “Joe is taller than Amy, but Joe is shorter than Mark and Joe is shorter than Bill.”

Conjunction Relationship Exercises

Exercises on conjunction relationships are another way to study cohesive devices. This helps you find the context of words and the main idea in a paragraph. One exercise utilizes the word “because,” which signals a cause and effect relationship. Detail the cause as well as the effect. Or, find the following words in a passage: “but,” “thus” and “when.” Identify the two parts that are related and detail the relationship that each word signals.

Synonym Exercises

Focus on synonyms. This helps you understand that the change in a noun doesn’t always mean a change in the person or object being referred to. Read a passage and detail what words such as “all,” “their,” “his,” “her” or other pronouns mean in that passage. For example, in the passage, “Rosa went to school. She was late,” "she" is a synonym for Rosa.

Advanced Exercices

Compare cohesive devices between the language you speak and the language you are learning. This is an advanced exercise. Choose one device at a time, such as how people are referenced in a text. Note whether people are typically referenced after the first time, such as with pronouns like “she” or by repetition of the name. This helps you understand cohesive device patterns in your new language. The level of cohesion varies from language to language.

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