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University Writing Center

Transitions

Transitions are bridges that can take you reader from one thought to the next. These bridges link ideas and can help you avoid choppy writing.

Check the Order of Your Ideas

Having trouble with transitions? Your text maybe out of order. Make a list of your main points and juggle the order so that one paragraph leads logically to the next. Then, add some transitions to help the reader move from one point to the next.

Use Transition Words

Adding a Point: furthermore, besides, in addition to

Emphasis: above all, indeed, in fact

Time: then, afterward, later

Space: next to, across, surrounding

Cause & Effect: consequently, as a result, therefore

Examples: for example, for instance

Progression: first, second, third

Contrast: but, however on the other hand

Similarity: like, also, likewise

Concession: although, yet, granted

Conclusions: to sum up, in brief, for these reasons

Use Repetition of Key Words and Ideas

Repeat the word or variations of the word.

“I can never forget the year of the big flood. That was the year I grew up.”

Use pronouns

“College students can experience stressful deadlines and exams. They should not procrastinate their research and study.”

Use synonyms or different words with the same meanings.

“When you re-pot plants, use a high grade potting soil. Plants need rich dirt in order to thrive.”

Use Transitional Sentences Between Paragraphs

“Usually the transition between paragraphs comes in the first sentence of the new paragraph.”

For example:

  • Even though Eva followed all of these useful suggestions, she still ran into unforeseen problems.
  • Because of these results, the researchers decided to try a new experiment.

Notice that in these examples, the first half of the sentence refers to the previous paragraph, the second half of these points to the paragraph that is beginning.

Using Linear Structure

Once the thesis statement is established, the rest of the essay must “flow” in a certain way. How does this happen? First, it helps if you create an outline for the thesis. An outline gives you a visual plan on how to write your essay. The outline (plan) for a basic academic essay or a common five paragraph essay, is as follows:

Paragraph 1: Introduction–thesis and three points to support the thesis

Paragraph 2: Point 1

Paragraph 3: Point 2

Paragraph 4: Point 3

Paragraph 5: Conclusion

Argument essays tend to include informative background data on the topic, a bibliography (citing sources used), and refutation of possible objections to the argument.

Using Transitions

Another way to make an essay flow is to connect the different section of you paper with transitions. Transition words ( howeever, therefore, additionally, thus, and also) or phrases ( for example, on the other hand, and in conclusion) that show a link between a paragraph and the one that precedes it. You usually put a transition at the beginning of the paragraph to connect with the previous one. One very useful way to create a transition sentence is to identify a key word or phrase in the previous sentence and repeat it in your transition sentence.

Updated 1.12.2012