What Is a Cohesive Essay?

When you write a cohesive essay, you build on a single idea, proving this statement with your research and interpretations. Your goals include leaving the reader with a solid understanding of your main idea. A cohesive essay doesn't confuse the reader, but instead, logically proves your main idea with each paragraph tied together to make that happen. To achieve cohesion, you need to know the main elements that form a cohesive essay.


A cohesive essay will follow a particular structure. You will begin with an introductory paragraph that gives the reader an overview of your essay topic and include a thesis statement. Next, you'll make statements that prove your thesis, and you will close your essay with a concluding paragraph that pulls your arguments together, pointing back to the thesis statement. Without this standard structure, your essay will not tie together, and you would not have cohesion.


The body of your essay will contain ideas and arguments that help prove your thesis statement. They will also give the reader have a better understanding of the subject matter in general. You want your reader to come to a similar conclusion that you have in your thesis, and having clear, logical ideas will help you achieve this. To help with cohesion, make sure your arguments relate entirely to your thesis statement without straying away from your main point.


Good transition words, phrases or sentences provide the road map to help your reader follow the ideas you show in your essay and how they connect to the thesis statement. Transitions connect one sentence to another, as well as one paragraph to the next. Examples of transitions include the words or phrases “next,” “at the same time,” “in summary,” “therefore” and “finally.”


To help with cohesion, you should look at each sentence individually to ensure the information contained in each one relates to the paragraph itself. If you have one sentence that does not relate to the paragraph topic, this may confuse your reader, making the essay less cohesive.

As well, when you change ideas, starting a new paragraph, you should evaluate the first sentence to see if the sudden change might confuse the reader. This might mean you need a transition phrase.

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