A typical essay contains many different kinds of information, often located in specialized parts or sections. Even short essays perform several different operations: introducing the argument, analyzing data, raising counterarguments, concluding. Introductions and conclusions have fixed places, but other parts don’t. Counterargument, for example, may appear within a paragraph, as a free-standing section, as part of the beginning, or before the ending. Background material (historical context or biographical information, a summary of relevant theory or criticism, the definition of a key term) often appears at the beginning of the essay, between the introduction and the first analytical section, but might also appear near the beginning of the specific section to which it’s relevant.
Your map should naturally take you through some preliminary answers to the basic questions of what, how, and why. It is not a contract, though—the order in which the ideas appear is not a rigid one. Essay maps are flexible; they evolve with your ideas.
Raskolnikov finally finds a new life:
If you find that you are overusing explicit connectors and your transitions are beginning to feel mechanical (How many times have you used “furthermore” or “however”? How many “other hands” do you have?), you can improve the flow of your writing either by changing up the transitional expressions, or by shifting toward more implicit transitions. One technique is, in the first sentence of the new paragraph, refer (either explicitly or implicitly) to material in the preceding paragraph. For example:
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These tips is a good starting point for writing an essay with better coherence. Remember, writing is partly a skill. Hence, further education and more practice can definitely go a long way. Also, the tips listed about leans towards a basic writing style. Thus, some tips may not apply depending on the intended writing style.
Before you start writing, you need to make a plan for your essay. If you want, you can alter it later on, but you should have a basic structure before you begin writing. How you do this is a matter of preference and depends on your learning style. If you’re comfortable working visually, then a diagram or mind map can form your plan. If you think more literally, create a written outline. Whichever way you choose to do it, you need to make sure you have identified all the key issues and worked out how to use them in an argument.
Before you can start writing a coherent essay, you must carry out effective research into the topic you’re writing about. You should see the research as the foundation of the essay and allow more time for it than the writing itself. Read over any notes you’ve made in class as a starting point and use reading lists your tutor has given you to find suggestions for further research. Make notes as you read, mark important pages in books and bookmark relevant websites so you can easily find the material you want when you’re writing.
Pinker identifies four types of coherence relation: the three Humean ones, and additional type he calls attribution. In one of the most useful sections of his book, he goes through each of these relations, giving examples and explaining how they work. I’ll do the same now.
2. Introduce the reader to the topic and the point: Make sure they know what you are talking about and why you are talking about it.