Document Type : Research article


1 Associate Professor in Shiraz University,

2 Master student of English language teaching, Shiraz University


One of the key elements in the organization of any piece of writing is its coherence. To date, many propositions have been given regarding the definition, analysis, and evaluation of text coherence. In the current study, Mann and Thompson's (1988) Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST) was adopted as the method of text analysis to detect the coherence breaks in writing samples. In order to see what problems Iranian EFL learners have with regard to text coherence, 64 essays in descriptive and argumentative genres written by male students of a language institute in Shiraz were analyzed. The essays were analyzed for discourse errors using RST. The findings indicated that Iranian EFL learners committed eight different types of coherence errors, namely irrelevant content, violation of complet-edness, violation of connectedness, incorrect place, incorrect relation, crossed dependency, scattered units, and topic. The reason behind these errors partly came from the learners' tendency to write in an inductive order, and partly from their inability to coherently connect the constitu-ent parts of their texts together. Genre difference was also proved to be significant in the number of coherence relations and in the type and number of coherence errors. In general, descriptive writing samples were 
more coherent than argumentative ones. 


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