Importance of Sequence of Topics

Reader impose a sense of coherence when ...

  1. They quickly identify the topics of an individual sentence.
  2. They see how a string of topics ``hang together" as a logical set.

Compare the coherence of these content-similar paragraphs; the presumed topics are in bold face. Compare ...

The particular ideas toward the beginning of the sentences define what a passage is ``about" for a reader; so a sense of coherence depends on topics. Moving through a paragraph from cumulatively coherent point of view is made possible by a sequence of topics that seem to constitute this coherent sequence of topicalized ideas. A seeming absence of context for each sentence is one consequence of making random shifts in topics. Feeling of dislocations, disorientations, and lack of focus will occur when that happens.

with ...

Topics are crucial for readers because they depend on topics to focus their attention on particular ideas towards the beginnings of sentences so that they can understand what a whole passage is ``about." If readers feel that a sequence of topics is coherent, then they will feel they are moving through a paragraph from a cumulatively coherent point of view. But if through that paragraph readers feel that the topics seem to shift randomly, then they have to begin each sentence out of context, from no coherent point of view. When that happens, readers feel dislocated, disoriented, out of focus.