How do demonstratives improve essay cohesion?
This is the second and final lesson about Demonstratives. To complete this course, read each lesson carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.
– Review the key features of demonstrative determiners
– Discuss how demonstrative pronouns affect essay cohesion
– Understand how demonstrative determiners are more effective than pronouns in enhancing essay cohesion
In this second lesson on demonstrative determiners, we focus more specifically on how this small group of words is able to significantly improve cohesion and coherence in a piece of academic writing. If you’re studying at a top university using English for academic purposes (EAP), then it would be a good idea to study this lesson carefully, implementing the techniques we describe in your final submissions to improve your overall grades. Once finished, consider unlocking, downloading and completing the Lesson 1-2 Worksheets to check understanding and improve English proficiency.
Demonstrative Determiners Review
To quickly review Lesson 1, demonstrative determiners:
- are ‘this’, ‘that’, ‘these’ and ‘those’
- distinguish one noun from another
- distinguish quantity (singular and plural)
- distinguish proximity (near and far)
- pre-modify noun phrases
- are the first element of a noun phrase
- come before pre-modifying adjectives
How do demonstrative pronouns increase cohesion?
The demonstrative pronoun versions of the words ‘this’, ‘that’, ‘these’ and ‘those’, which replace nouns rather than pre-modify them, are very helpful for improving cohesion in a piece of academic writing. This can be seen in the two excerpts below:
What you should hopefully have noticed from reading through these two excerpts is that excerpt (B), by using the demonstrative pronouns ‘this’, ‘these’ and ‘those’, is able to express the same meaning as excerpt (A) in far fewer words. The first ‘this’, for example, refers back to the initial sentence, replacing the need to repeat ‘the fact that air pollution is affecting health’.
However excerpt (B) is not perfect and over-relies on demonstrative pronouns. In fact, of the five uses of these pronouns, only one is appropriate and improves cohesion and coherence. Two determiners could be more specific and two are simply confusing for the reader due to their referential manner (as explored in Lesson 1). Try reading excerpt (B) again before checking excerpt (C) below: Can you identify which demonstratives should be improved and how to improve them?
Why are demonstrative determiners more cohesive?
As excerpt (C) shows, by combining demonstrative determiners with nouns such as ‘these’ + ‘countries’, a writer is able to significantly increase the specificity of their writing. Because they are so referential, demonstrative pronouns on their own are often too ambiguous for scientific writing, so following them with a noun as in ‘this increase’ or ‘those mentioned’ (shifting their type from pronoun to determiner) clarifies for the reader precisely what’s being described. Grammatical reference like this is well known to improve the cohesion of academic paragraphs. Such reference can be seen more clearly in the colour-coded version of excerpt (C) below:
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