Transitions are not just verbal decorations that embellish your paper by making it sound or read better. They are words with particular meanings that tell the reader to think and react in a particular way to your ideas. In providing the reader with these important cues, transitions help readers understand the logic of how your ideas fit together. Signs that you might need to work on your transitions How can you tell whether you need to work on your transitions?
Your readers instructors, friends, or classmates tell you that they had trouble following your organization or train of thought. You tend to write the way you think—and your brain often jumps from one idea to another pretty quickly. In the margins of your draft, summarize in a word or short phrase what each paragraph is about or how it fits into your analysis as a whole.
This exercise should help you to see the order of and connection between your ideas more clearly. If after doing this exercise you find that you still have difficulty linking your ideas together in a coherent fashion, your problem may not be with transitions but with organization.
How transitions work The organization of your written work includes two elements: 1 the order in which you have chosen to present the different parts of your discussion or argument, and 2 the relationships you construct between these parts. Transitions cannot substitute for good organization, but they can make your organization clearer and easier to follow.
Take a look at the following example: El Pais, a Latin American country, has a new democratic government after having been a dictatorship for many years. Assume that you want to argue that El Pais is not as democratic as the conventional view would have us believe. One way to effectively organize your argument would be to present the conventional view and then to provide the reader with your critical response to this view. So, in Paragraph A you would enumerate all the reasons that someone might consider El Pais highly democratic, while in Paragraph B you would refute these points.
The transition that would establish the logical connection between these two key elements of your argument would indicate to the reader that the information in paragraph B contradicts the information in paragraph A. In this way, transitions act as the glue that binds the components of your argument or discussion into a unified, coherent, and persuasive whole. Types of transitions Now that you have a general idea of how to go about developing effective transitions in your writing, let us briefly discuss the types of transitions your writing will use.
The types of transitions available to you are as diverse as the circumstances in which you need to use them. A transition can be a single word, a phrase, a sentence, or an entire paragraph.
The beginning of the movie was sadder than the ending. After so much time waiting in the long line, the boys finally got their hamburgers. The Van Gogh art exhibit was shown earlier this month in Washington, D. Wait until tonight, then you will be able to see the full moon over Gallaudet's Chapel Hall. The show is not over until the actors take their final bows at the end. While Missy was driving to work, she saw a deer by the roadside. She slowed down to watch the deer for a short time, then continued on her way to work.
Even when Sally was able to, she did not bother to finish her ASL project. Clerc met with Gallaudet to prepare for the Congressional meeting scheduled for the next day. The next night was very dark and stormy.
Of course, it was Halloween night! Bobby's broken ankle will heal in time for the Maryland Deaf Festival. That house felt very creepy inside; meanwhile, it was sunny outside. Eventually, Sally got tired of John calling her on the TTY all the time since she was not interested in him. She was still asleep when I got back home from work. Now, please get this truck fixed because I need it to get to school on time! Schools for the deaf used Sign Language until the dreadful conference in Milan; from then on, most schools for the deaf employed the oral method.
Super Kmart is near Landmark Mall, but Ames is far away from the mall. So it would be easier to shop at Super Kmart. It will take two hours to go from Point A to Point B. Can you figure out how many hours it is from Point A to Point C? At first, I thought it was a dead animal.In the meantime, fill up the car with gas please. For over 20 years, I've taught these tips to students and seen their writing dramatically improve. A transition can be a single word, a phrase, a sentence, or an entire paragraph. Transition words prevent our writing from sounding stilted or choppy. In this way, transitions act as the glue that binds the components of your argument or discussion into a unified, coherent, and persuasive whole. He has not been acting much since he was a teenager.
Then use the "Adding to an Idea" transition words below. Look in the left column of the table for the kind of logical relationship you are trying to express. Use: obviously, especially, as a rule, particularly, or another emphasizing transition. Assume that you want to argue that El Pais is not as democratic as the conventional view would have us believe. She was still asleep when I got back home from work.
Can you figure out how many hours it is from Point A to Point C?
We need to wash our clothes, after that we can go to the Taste of D. Does the sentence contrast or contradict? Everyone hid out in the hall during the hurricane, hoping they would be safe. Transitions cannot substitute for good organization, but they can make your organization clearer and easier to follow. Here is my step-by-step guide: Use the transition list as you write: Think about how the sentences in your paragraph are related to one another. At first, I thought it was a dead animal.
Karen was out with her friend last night. Improve Your Writing Today! Using the transition list while you are revising: Sometimes, it is easier not to worry about these words until your final draft stage, especially if you are a beginning writer. They sew our paragraphs together, making our writing flow better, connecting one idea to the next. As a result, I went online and booked a trip. I went online and booked a trip.
She slowed down to watch the deer for a short time, then continued on her way to work. Transitional expressions Effectively constructing each transition often depends upon your ability to identify words or phrases that will indicate for the reader the kind of logical relationships you want to convey. Assume that you want to argue that El Pais is not as democratic as the conventional view would have us believe. You tend to write the way you think—and your brain often jumps from one idea to another pretty quickly. Moreover, … Notwithstanding such criticism, …. There are many easy Windows Shortcuts available which work almost system-wide e.
This will help you see how they can tie our thoughts together more cohesively.
Use: however, on the other hand, in contrast, yet, conversely, or another contrasting transition. In other words, transitions tell readers what to do with the information you present to them. The image to the left gives you an impression how it looks like. Example 2: However, transition words can also be placed at the beginning of a new paragraph or sentence - not only to indicate a step forward in the reasoning, but also to relate the new material to the preceding thoughts. Even when Sally was able to, she did not bother to finish her ASL project. Karen's cat, Salem is so unlike Midnight.
She was still asleep when I got back home from work. Then look in the right column of the table for examples of words or phrases that express this logical relationship. Transitions between sections: Particularly in longer works, it may be necessary to include transitional paragraphs that summarize for the reader the information just covered and specify the relevance of this information to the discussion in the following section. Transitions are not just verbal decorations that embellish your paper by making it sound or read better. Words that show a TIME relationship: Words that show a TIME relationshipafter so much timeafter thatat firstbeforebeginning, endingeventuallyearliereven whenever sincefollowingfrom then onfrom, toin timelastlatermeanwhilenear, farnextnowoversoonstillthe next day, nightthenwhile Stephen went to pick up Irene before he stopped by McDonald's for lunch.