Reference is the second type of cohesion through choice of words and another strategy for linking ideas and information across sentences in an academic paragraph or text. Reference words are personal pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, comparative adjectives, the definite article, 'the' and deictics like 'one' or 'both'.

  • Reference words carry no informational content and can only be understood by referring outside the text or to content in previous or later text.
  • Reference words are linked to content by grammar when they refer to content words/vocabulary in the same sentence or clause.
  • Reference words are linked to content by cohesion when they refer to to content in other sentences or clauses, thus creating meaning links across the paragraph or text.