Vocabulary and Reference are two different ways of using words to relate or link ideas and information across a paragraph and text. These linked words form vocabulary or reference chains which help create a clearer flow of ideas across sentences. These are two ways of making academic writing cohesive.


These are all words in a text which have content information on the topics in a text. These are called lexical items and their meaning links or relations create lexical cohesion.
Reference items are words with have no content information. They refer or 'point' to content information in words in other sentences. This type of meaning link also creates cohesion across text.
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After you finish both parts of this unit, 1. Vocabulary and 2. Reference, you will be able to:

  • recognise different meaning links between vocabulary across text as three types of lexical cohesion.
  • understand meaning links between reference words and vocabulary across text as reference cohesion.
  • create cohesion in your own texts by choosing lexical and reference items to link ideas or information.