Using Halliday and Hasan’s (1976) theory on repetition as a subtype of reiteration in establishing lexical cohesive ties, and Liu’s (2000) categorization of this type of cohesion, namely: repetition, synonyms, antonyms, superordinate/hyponyms, related words, and text-structuring words, the study investigated the most preferred types of lexical cohesion used by 30 ESL learners from the Graduate School of De La Salle University-Manila—15 from among those enrolled in different programs other than English, and 15 from the group of those enrolled in an English program. The sampled part was the Conclusion section of their academic papers. It likewise examined how a lexical item coheres with the preceding occurrence of the same item, and what given holistic scores in overall lexical cohesion suggest.
Results showed that Repetition was the most frequently used type of lexical cohesion by both groups sampled. The students also frequently employed related words like situational synonyms, situational antonyms, lexical items with superordinate/hyponym relationship, and text-structuring words. A total of 60% of repeated lexical items had an identical type of occurrence. Holistic scores revealed more than 50% of the student papers obtained an average rating in overall lexical cohesion. Results could be considered useful in improving the contents of the Advanced Academic Reading and Writing course of the University, and in deciding what classroom exercises could best be given to the students to help them achieve a higher level of lexical cohesion when they write.