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Volume 18 Number 4, Winter 2021, Pages 1071-1525   

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References and Conjunctions as Cohesive Devices in Chinese Undergraduate EFL Students' Argumentative Essays

    Meihua Liu

The present study explored the use of references and conjunctions in 116 argumentative essays written by Chinese university EFL students. Mainly guided by Halliday and Hasan's (1976) model on cohesion, the study revealed the following major findings: (1) the participants used references more than conjunctions and tended to use demonstrative references and clause connectives and additive conjunctions most frequently in their argumentative essays, (2) high-quality essays had significantly more frequent use of comparative references than low-quality essays, (3) comparative references were a positive predictor for the whole sample's writing scores and reflexive references a negative predictor for low-quality essay scores, and (4) the participants generally had an appropriate use of different kinds of references and conjunctions, with a small percent of problematic use of different types of references and conjunctions in their writing. It is thus concluded that the use of references and conjunctions greatly affects the quality of argumentative writing produced by ESL/EFL students.

Keywords: cohesion, cohesive device, reference, conjunction, argumentative writing