What does coherent mean, you may ask?
Well, it means ‘to flow smoothly’.
A lot of students tend to struggle with coherent sentences, either because they are rushing and forget a word or two, or because of lack of punctuation.
Ultimately, this makes teachers and assessors reading their work, squint at the page and scratch their heads.
Here are three super easy tips to give your writing a boost in the coherency department.
1. Full Stops & Commas
This one’s a no brainer.
Breathing is a thing, and a lack of full stops makes it difficult for the reader to take in the ideas you’re trying to put forth.
If an idea is too long, add commas to break it up into manageable chunks (clauses).
Otherwise, if you find that you are dragging a sentence on for too long, put a full stop at the end, and move on to the next idea.
Think of it as writing the way you’d speak to a friend.
If you’re saying something, you’ll find that you’ll come to a natural end when you run out of air, or when you come to the end of an idea.
Next time you’re writing an essay or a short answer question, read the sentence in your head the way you would speak to someone, and place the full stop where you find you’ve run out of breath.
In order to make your writing clearer and easier to read, it’s preferable that you separate your writing onto separate lines.
This is a practise you should adopt especially in creative writing, where body paragraphs are not required.
The general rule of thumb for creative writing is to give one sentence one line, and then write a new sentence on a separate line with a gap in between (though this depends on the author’s writing style).
In terms of essays, spacing should be applied according to the number of body paragraphs you’re writing.
Ensure that your introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion are clearly separated from each other so that the reader knows what they’re looking for.
Do not, however, give each sentence within a body paragraph its own line.
Giving sentences their own line is a practise for creative writing only, whereas spacing in essays is regarding paragraphs.
3. Sentence Length
It’s best to practise using short and sharp sentences as an exercise before you begin to use longer and complex sentences.
Try to make a piece flow with shorter sentences, rather than using long sentences that can suffocate the reader.
If your sentences are too long and complex, the piece will drag on and your reader will be gasping for air.
However, using too many short sentences in succession can cause your piece to sound choppy and abrupt.
As with many things, it is important to find a balance. You can achieve a dynamic and exciting piece just by mixing up the lengths of your sentences!
Follow our quick tips and tricks to create beautifully coherent and constructed written pieces!