Cohesive devices: gelada monkey

2 - The Grammar Bit

The Grammar Bit!

Text cohesion relates to how well a piece of writing holds together, with phrases, clauses, sentences and paragraphs threaded together in a way that makes the text easy for the reader to follow and understand.

Now that you are in Year 6 you will have had experience of using a range of cohesive devices.

With your talk partner, decide which of the following cohesive devices have been used in the text opposite:

  • Use of conjunctions (but, although, because, so, while) to link words, phrases and clauses within a sentence
  • Use of conjunctive adverbials (meanwhile, on the other hand, however) to link ideas and information between sentences and paragraphs
  • Use of pronouns (he, they, his, it) to refer back to a noun already mentioned or forwards to a noun not yet mentioned
  • Use of a topic sentence (especially in non-fiction texts) that tells the reader what the rest of the paragraph is about
  • Use of synonyms to avoid repetition (herd, gathering, congregation)
  • Use of good tense consistency (the avoidance of switching tenses without good reason)

Scintillating Sentences

Why do gelada monkeys have such long canine teeth?

When gelada monkeys open their mouths, four lion-sized canine teeth stand out from their red gums. This must surely be one of nature’s great curiosities. Why should a grass-loving animal (90% of a gelada’s diet consists of grass fronds and seeds) have such a fearsome set of gnashers when it has no need for ripping apart flesh?

The answer lies in an understanding that these primates are social animals, who live together in bands or herds (sometimes numbering over a thousand individuals), and that teeth baring is an important part of how they communicate with each other. Both males and females will frequently ‘yawn.’ This involves flipping back their upper lips to expose their impressively large canines. It is a way of establishing dominance and hierarchy, telling each other who is in charge and what others can or cannot do. For example, a dominant male may yawn to tell younger bachelor males that he has the exclusive mating rights to a harem of females or that he has the first ‘sitting’ on a new patch of meadow.

To summarise, geladas are highly organised, scary-looking vegans (some would say) with a taste for greens rather than an appetite for flesh.


Did you know?

Animals that predate on gelada monkeys include jackals, wolves, wild dogs and leopards. Although the natural reaction is for geladas to retreat to a the cliff face when a predator approaches, some males have been known to confront their adversaries. There have even been cases of males mobbing leopards!