Writing Transitions Tips

Using sentence-level transitions, paragraph-level transitions and transitions between blocks of text help reader move from sentence to sentence, they also alert readers to more global connections of ideas. They are bridges between what has been said and what is about to be said.

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Essay Writing Tips

Sentence-Level Transitions

Certain words or phrases signal connections between (or within) sentences.
  • Addition: and, also, besides, further, in addition, moreover, next, too
  • Examples: for example, for instance, to illustrate, in fact, specifically.
  • Compare: also, in the same manner, similarly, likewise
  • Contrast: but, however, on the other hand, in contrast, nevertheless, still, even though, yet
  • Summarize / Conclude: in short, therefore, in other words, in conclusion
  • Time: after, before, next, during, later, finally, meanwhile, then, when, while
  • Place / Direction: above, below, beyond, farther on, nearby, opposite
  • Logical Relationship: if, so therefore, consequently, thus, as a result, for this reason

Good writing incorporates sentence-level transitions appropriately, and does not overuse them. This takes practice, but can often be determined by common sense. Where does a reader need help following the logic of the sentence or paragraph? Use transitions where such points occur.

Paragraph Level Transitions

Sentences (or phrases) that link paragraphs; often the first sentence of a paragraph (topic sentence) links to the first sentence of the previous paragraph.

Consider septic packaging, the synthetic packaging for the “juice boxes” so many children bring to school with their lunch.[Rest of paragraph omitted.]

What is true for juice boxes is also true for other forms of synthetic packaging. [Rest of paragraph omitted.]

Transitions Between Blocks of Text

In longer essays, you will need to alert readers to connections between blocks of text more than one paragraph long. You can do this by inserting transitional sentences or short paragraphs at key points in the essay.

Although the great apes have demonstrated significant language skills, one central question remains: Can they be taught to use that uniquely human language tool we call grammar, to learn the difference, for instance, between "ape bite human" and "human bite ape"? In other words, can an ape create a sentence?

Another strategy to help readers is to insert headings in your essay. Headings allow you to announce a new topic boldly, without the need for subtle transitions.

"Writing Transitions"
Prepared by:
Katie Rodgers
University of California, Davis
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