The University of Sydney The Write Site
Home Glossary Site map Help
Module 1: Grammar Module 2: Sources Module 3: Structure
Home » Module 3 Unit 5: Writing cohesively » Using reference words - page 1/8
Unit 1: Planning your essayUnit 2: Structuring paragraphsUnit 3: Introductions & conclusionsUnit 4: Writing persuasivelyUnit 5: Writing cohesively

Using reference words

This section explains the system used to refer forward or backward from where you are in a text to other words or concepts. You use reference words to show the connections between ideas, giving greater cohesion and clarity to your writing.

You will already be familiar with the word ‘reference’, meaning conventions for acknowledging authors or documents you have used in your research and reading. You ‘reference’ these authors when you quote them or paraphrase them. (See Module 2, Unit 3: Quoting and paraphrasing).

However, the term reference is also used to refer to a system of creating cohesion in a text. Reference words point backwards or forwards to other words or concepts that have already appeared in the text or are about to appear in the text.

In the majority of cases, the word has already occurred in the text i.e. the reference word is pointing backwards.


In this sentence, these is a reference word pointing back to phases in the preceding sentence.

In this sentence, those is a reference word pointing forwards to the changes requiring only a moderate level of financial support.

Reference words are important because they are another way you can strengthen the connections between different elements of your text and clarify the progression of ideas.