Textual Coherence: Types and Examples

The textual coherence is a term that refers to the relations of meaning between individual units (sentences or propositions) of a text. These allow a text to be logical and semantically consistent. This property is studied in the fields of text linguistics.

Textual coherence arises from the relationship between the underlying ideas of a text, together with the logical organization and development of these texts. It is one of the two qualities that give unity and purpose to a written or spoken text (the other is cohesion), and is achieved with an adequate structuring and organization of the content.

Textual coherence

In this sense, there is a series of mechanisms that serve to provide the text with the necessary coherence. Some of these mechanisms include, for example, maintaining a chronological sequence or presenting information in a logical manner.

Thus, textual coherence refers to the way in which the individual components of a text are connected to make sense for the recipient, instead of being a random sequence of sentences and clauses.


  • 1 Types
    • 1.1 Local text coherence
    • 1.2 Global text coherence
  • 2 Examples
    • 2.1 Fragment 1
    • 2.2 Fragment 2
    • 2.3 Fragment 3
    • 2.4 Fragment 4
    • 2.5 Fragment 5
  • 3 References


Textual coherence implies a clear presentation of the information in a way that facilitates its understanding. This is divided into two categories: local coherence and global coherence.

Local text coherence

According to the definition of textual linguistics, local coherence exists between the near parts of the text; that is, between two consecutive segments of the discourse.

Now, if a broader definition is considered, local coherence occurs between two semiotic neighbors in general (for example, between a figure and its title). This coherence is materialized if the interlocutor (or reader) can connect a statement with the information of the previous sentence.

On the other hand, this type of coherence operates in the syntactic (structure) and semantic (meaning) fields. For example, word repetitions, paraphrases, and pronouns can connect an independent clause to another clause.

In this way, each sentence is constructed from the prayer that precedes it; with this a well-marked sense of local coherence is established.

Global text coherence

On the other hand, global coherence defines the link of the constituents of the text, since it is mediated by the global issue addressed in the document.

In this sense, prayers must do much more than relate to one another locally. Each one has to develop the topic as a whole, contributing in this way to the overall coherence of the text.

Thus, a text is coherent in the global scope if all its sentences can be related to its macrostructure or mental model of the text.

For example, a text with a clear structure (cause and effect, problem-solution or chronological sequence) helps to create a mental outline of its content and to facilitate its understanding.

In summary, global coherence refers to the overall picture. The main ideas should cover the entire text so that the interlocutors are aware of the global nature of the material and can follow the ideas without getting confused.


Next, fragments of the literary essay will be presented The double flame , work of Octavio Paz. These will serve to exemplify some strategies of textual coherence.

Fragment 1

"It is not strange that Plato has condemned physical love. However, he did not condemn the reproduction. In The banquet Divine flame to the desire to procreate: it is longing for immortality."

In the first three sentences of this first fragment we can see the local textual coherence in the choice of sentences that are semantically related: physical love, reproduction and desire to procreate.

Likewise, the three maintain the reference: Plato. Although it is not explicitly mentioned that The banquet be a work of his authorship, this is inferred from the reading.

The first sentence is declarative:"it is not strange that (...)", but this is followed by a contrast:"nevertheless (...)"; and in the third an example is presented to validate his argument. All these resources connect each sentence with the previous one, guiding the reader in their comprehension process.

Fragment 2

"True, the children of the soul, the ideas, are better than the children of the flesh; However, in Laws exalts body reproduction."

The words of Paz, in this fragment remain within the same semantic range:"children of the soul","children of the flesh","body reproduction".

In the same way, the discursive construction is maintained on the same referent: Plato, his ideas and his works. In this case, another of his productions is mentioned: Laws .

In addition, he repeats the idea of ​​the contradiction between condemning physical love and exalting bodily reproduction. The implication is that the latter is not possible without the first.

Fragment 3

"The reason: it is a political duty to generate citizens and women who are capable of ensuring the continuity of life in the city."

This fragment connects with the previous sentence, being an explanation of why Plato defends human reproduction. Phrases also maintain textual coherence: beget, continuity of life.

Fragment 4

"Apart from this ethical and political consideration, Plato clearly perceived the panic side of love, his connection with the world of animal sexuality and wanted to break it."

As in the whole text, the continuous allusions to love (physical) and reproduction (the phrase"panic slope"alludes to Pan, the Greek god of fertility and male sexuality) are maintained.

In this way it is observed how the thematic unit and the argumentative sequence throughout the essay endow it with the necessary textual coherence in the global scope.

Fragment 5

"He was coherent with himself and with his vision of the world... But there is an insurmountable contradiction in the Platonic conception of eroticism: without the body and the desire that ignites in the lover, there is no ascension towards the archetypes".

In this last fragment the logical consequence of Paz's argumentation is presented: Plato's contradiction about his ideas of physical love and reproduction as a human need.

Throughout this syntactic and semantic framework, both local and global coherence are evident.


  1. Glottopedia (2013, May 20). Coherence. Taken from glottopedia.org.
  2. The university of Manchester (s / f). Coherence and cohesion. Taken from humanities.manchester.ac.uk.
  3. BBC (s / f). Coherence. Taken from teachingenglish.org.uk.
  4. Storrer, A. (2002) Coherence in text and hypertext. Taken from studiger.fb15.tu-dortmund.de.
  5. Kellogg, R. T. (1999). The Psychology of Writing. New York: Oxford University Press.
  6. Cribb, M. (2009). Discourse and the Non-Native English Speaker. New York: Cambria Press.
  7. Richardson, J. S.; Morgan, R. F. and Fleener, C. (2008). Reading to Learn in the Content Areas. Belmont: Cengage Learning.

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