What Type of Cohesive Devices are there?

1. Anaphoric reference means that a word in a text refers back to other ideas in the text for its meaning.
‘I went out with Jo on Sunday. She looked awful.’ ´She` clearly refers to Jo, there is no need to repeat her name.

2. Cataphoric reference means that a word in a text refers to another later in the text and you need to look forward to understand

‘When he arrived, John noticed that the door was open’.

3. Exophoric reference  refers to an idea outside the text. This is a reference to world knowledge shared by the reader


” The Prime Minister responded quickly to the threat. Here we are expected to know who the Prime Minister is”

4. Tense agreement refers to the way that writers use tenses to make a text hang together


“She knew then that he… “had found her letter” is a logical ending to the sentence. We are not surprised to see past perfect after simple past in a narrative sentence.”

5. Linkers refers  to words or phrases that describe the relationship between ideas in the text


“And, but, therefore, first of all”

6. Substitution or Ellipsis refers to eplacing words, or leaving them out– this is how writers reduce repetition in a text


“Now we’re finishing our essays. I know you want to go out, but before you can do that, please finish. ‘do that’ avoids a repetition of ‘go out’. Instead of repeating ‘finish our essays’ ‘our essays’ is dropped from the sentence”

Additional Resources

  1. Cohesion Exercise: Combining and Connecting Sentences
  2. Coherence
  3. Cohesive Devices
  4. Learning Task: Cohesive Devices
  5. Writing – Cohesion and Coherence
  6. Cohesive Devices
  7. Cohesion in Text and Speech
  8. Identifying Cohesive Devices



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