Writing Transitions

 

Good transitions can connect paragraphs and turn disconnected writing into a unified whole.

 

Instead of treating paragraphs as separate ideas, transitions can help readers understand how paragraphs work together, reference one another, and build to a larger point.

 

The key to producing good transitions is highlighting connections between corresponding paragraphs.

 

By referencing in one paragraph the relevant material from previous ones, writers can develop important points for their readers.

 

It is a good idea to continue one paragraph where another leaves off (instances where this is especially challenging may suggest that the paragraphs don't belong together at all.)

 

Picking up key phrases from the previous paragraph and highlighting them in the next can create an obvious progression for readers.

 

Many times, it only takes a few words to draw these connections. Instead of writing transitions that could connect any paragraph to any other paragraph, write a transition that could only connect one specific paragraph to another specific paragraph.

 

Example: Overall, Management Systems International has logged increased sales in every sector, leading to a significant rise in third-quarter profits.

Another important thing to note is that the corporation had expanded its international influence.

Revision: Overall, Management Systems International has logged increased sales in every sector, leading to a significant rise in third-quarter profits.

These impressive profits are largely due to the corporation's expanded international influence.

Example: Fearing for the loss of Danish lands, Christian IV signed the Treaty of Lubeck, effectively ending the Danish phase of the 30 Years War.

But then something else significant happened. The Swedish intervention began.

Revision: Fearing for the loss of more Danish lands, Christian IV signed the Treaty of Lubeck, effectively ending the Danish phase of the 30 Years War.

Shortly after Danish forces withdrew, the Swedish intervention began.

Example: Amy Tan became a famous author after her novel, The Joy Luck Club, skyrocketed up the bestseller list.

There are other things to note about Tan as well. Amy Tan also participates in the satirical garage band the Rock Bottom Remainders with Stephen King and Dave Barry.

Revision: Amy Tan became a famous author after her novel, The Joy Luck Club, skyrocketed up the bestseller list.

Though her fiction is well known, her work with the satirical garage band the Rock Bottom Remainders receives far less publicity.

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Transitional Devices

 

Transitional devices are like bridges between parts of your paper. They are cues that help the reader to interpret ideas a paper develops.

 

Transitional devices are words or phrases that help carry a thought from one sentence to another, from one idea to another, or from one paragraph to another.

 

Transitional devices link sentences and paragraphs together smoothly so that there are no abrupt jumps or breaks between ideas.

 

There are several types of transitional devices, and each category leads readers to make certain connections or assumptions. Some lead readers forward and imply the building of an idea or thought, while others make readers compare ideas or draw conclusions from the preceding thoughts.

 

List of some common transitional devices that can be used to cue readers in a given way:

 

To Add:

and, again, and then, besides, equally important, finally, further, furthermore, nor, too, next, lastly, what's more, moreover, in addition, first (second, etc.)

 

To Compare:

whereas, but, yet, on the other hand, however, nevertheless, on the contrary, by comparison, where, compared to, up against, balanced against, vis a vis, but, although, conversely, meanwhile, after all, in contrast, although this may be true

 

To Prove:

because, for, since, for the same reason, obviously, evidently, furthermore, moreover, besides, indeed, in fact, in addition, in any case, that is

 

To Show Exception:

yet, still, however, nevertheless, in spite of, despite, of course, once in a while, sometimes

 

To Show Time:

immediately, thereafter, soon, after a few hours, finally, then, later, previously, formerly, first (second, etc.), next, and then

 

To Repeat:

in brief,  as has been noted

 

To Emphasize:

definitely, extremely, obviously, in fact, indeed, in any case, absolutely, positively, naturally, surprisingly, always, forever, perennially, eternally, never, emphatically, unquestionably, without a doubt, certainly, undeniably, without reservation

 

To Show Sequence:

next, then, following this, at this time, now, at this point, after, afterward, subsequently, finally, consequently, previously, before this, simultaneously, concurrently, thus, therefore, hence, next, and then, soon

 

To Give an Example:

for example, for instance, in this case, in another case, on this occasion, in this situation, take the case of, to demonstrate, to illustrate, as an illustration, to illustrate

 

To Summarize or Conclude:

in brief, on the whole, hence, therefore, accordingly, thus, as a result, consequently, on the whole

 

Source: Purdue University Writing Center