Unit 16 Cohesion in English Discourse
Check Your Understanding
3. W I‟ve checked all the files. None was missing.
1. (1) No. The referents of these two noun phrases are both outside of this mini-text; as a matter of
fact, the referents of “the land” and “the environment” are part of our shared knowledge. (2) The pronoun “they” refers to the U. S. Olympic Team in the following sentence. (3) The first cohesive tie is built lexically between the specific word “(natural) gas” and the
general(or superordinate) word “energy”; the second cohesive tie is built grammatically by
using the possessive pronoun “theirs” to refer to the four children holding placards in the
picture, who are the representatives of our next or future generations; the third cohesive tie
is built grammatically between the word “energy” and the pronoun “it” on the placard held
by the second child, thus the referent of “it” being “energy”.
2. (1) & (2) Logical cohesive tie: However (, one day…); But (will they make them better)
Reference-based cohesive tie: “Is a computer clever than I am?”—this (question);
computers—they, their; “However, … at doing their jobs”— this; computers—they; us,
our—we, our—we—our; our lives—them;
Lexical cohesive tie:
(a) repetition: computer— computers— computers—computers; (your) brain— (a human)
brain; (their) jobs— (our) jobs; (our) lives— (our) lives;
(b) superordinate- hyponym: human— doctors, judges, teachers
(c) a generic concept— its specific elaborations: questions— “What will happen…?”,
“How will we…?”, “Will we have…?”, “But will they…?”
(d) words belonging to the same semantic field: clever—understand, create;
(3) The first “this” is used as a determiner, while the second is used as a pronoun. But in terms
of cohesion, they are both used anaphorically, i.e. referring back to the preceding part of the
(4) The sentence “If this is true, it raises interesting questions” makes a pivotal transition from
the discussion about the capacity of computers to the discussion about the consequences that
the use of computers will have for our lives.
3. (1) Reference-based cohesive tie: my vacation— it— it; I—I— I— I—I
Words belonging to the same semantic field: vacation— three weeks— trip— Hawaii—
mountains—worked hard all year—break
(2) Although there are various cohesive ties running through the short passage, the passage
seems to lack texture; it is disjointed and awkward to some extent.
(3) The tenses of the predicate verbs of some sentences have been changed. The change of the
past tenses to the present tenses makes the passage stick to the same perspective for looking
at things, which enhances the coherence of the passage. The passage can be further
improved by replacing the future tense with the simple present:
I don‟t know what to do for my vacation. It starts in three weeks. I have saved enough money
for a really nice trip. I have already been to Hawaii. It is too early to go to the mountains. I
have worked hard all year. I really need a break.
4. (1) a. 大狮子—大狮子—大狮子; 小狮子—最小的; 小狮子—它们; 有的—有的; 头上、背
上— 脚下或怀里; 在—在;
b. big lion— the big one— its— its; smaller ones— the smallest; smaller ones— them;
some— some; head or back— feet or embrace; stand— nestle
(2) The Chinese version depends heavily on the lexical repetition, while the cohesive ties in the
English version are more diversified: it uses the devices such as references, substitution and
5. (1) A. “The same” is used to substitute for “a large chocolate milkshake”, while “one” is used to
substitute for “chocolate milkshake”. Both of them are nominal substitutions.
B. The first “do” is used to substitute for “write that report”, hence a verbal substitution; the
second “do” is used only to substitute for the verb “write”, but it is also verbal
C. “So” is used to substitute for “It may snow” and “not” is used to substitute for “it cannot
snow”, thus both of them being clausal substitutions.
(2) Reference: I— me—me; Antonyms: large— small;
1. Presupposing element Presupposed element Class
there a pamphlet on Japanese art reference
he an animal painter reference
the (temple) a temple reference
the early morning after dark reference
painted horses horses he had painted upon a temple wall reference
the dew-covered fields the neighbors’ fields of rice reference
now the early morning reference
trembling had slipped and trampled tense-aspect
2. My sister has never wanted to go to college. When she was in high school, she was always a good student. Thus, her grades weren‟t the reason. When all her friends were applying for
college admission, my sister went job-hunting. She did so well that she had many offers. She accepted one of them and has been happy ever since. You know, she may never go to college, and I guess that‟s OK.
3. a. My father was a close friend of Albert Einstein. As a shy young visitor to Einstein‟s home, I
was made to feel at ease when Einstein said, “I have something to show you.” He went to his
desk and returned with a Yo-Yo. He tried to show me how the toy worked but he couldn‟t make
it roll back up the string.
b. The witness gave the police details of her assailant‟s appearance. The/Her description was
circulated throughout the metropolitan district.
c. You can save yourself a full five per cent of interest with our new credit plan. Furthermore/ In addition/ What‟s more, we are offering no repayments for a year to customers who sign up before the end of the month.
d. This is what worries me: I can‟t get any reliable information.
e. I must admit that I have wasted a lot of time this year. I even skip classes if I feel tired in the morning. Next year, I will try a different lifestyle on campus by putting more time into my studies.
f. Ralph felt the icy wind on his back and wrapped his scarf more tightly around his neck. It was surprising how chilly the wind could be once one got a few miles out to sea. g. To make a recording first insert a blank tape into the machine. Then select the channel you wish to record and set the counter to zero. Press the red „record‟ button and at the same time
press the „play‟ button.
4. The verb “tell” in Speaker B’s first utterance sets up a cohesive tie with Speaker A’s first
question, and in this context “newspaper” is also cohesively related to the verb “happen” in
Speaker A’s utterance, for newspaper is used to report happenings; in addition, the present perfect tense (i.e. haven’t read) of Speaker B’s first utterance forms a tense-aspectual tie with
the past simple tense (i.e. happened) in Speaker A’s first utterance.
The noun “event” in Speaker A’s second utterance is cohesively linked to the verb
“happen” in his first utterance and also linked to the noun “newspaper” in Speaker B’s first
utterance, for these three words belong to the same semantic field in this context.
The word “yes” in Speaker B’s second utterance constructs a semantic tie with Speaker A’s
second utterance by giving it a positive response; “Democrats” connects with “politics”, for
they belong to the same semantic field; “turn out” relates to “happen” and “event” in the
previous utterances, for to some extent, they are also in an co-occurrence relation with each other.
5. a. “A heart transplant? So, you‟ve got a new heart, the very first person in our province who received such an operation, the person who‟s been much in the news!”
b. The garden was a paradise on earth, with more food and clothes than could be consumed and more money than could be spent.
c. Today, the international community faces both development opportunities and grave challenges unprecedented in history. The world has never needed mutual understanding, mutual toleration and mutual cooperation as much as it does today. The Beijing Olympic Games is an opportunity not only for China but also for the whole world. By participating in
the Olympic Games, we should carry forward the Olympic spirit of solidarity, friendship and peace, facilitate sincere exchanges among people from all countries, deepen mutual understanding, enhance friendship and rise above differences, and promote the building of a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity.