English teachers often ask students to put transition words in their essays. Transition words show relationships between ideas in sentences and paragraphs; therefore, they are an important part of writing. The best part about transition words is that they can be easily inserted in many different places throughout an essay.
Placing Transition Words in an Essay
The versatility of transition words makes them easy to place throughout an essay. Knowing where to place these words or phrases allows writers to easily insert them where needed.
For sentences, transitions can be placed:
- At the beginning of the sentence
- In the middle of a sentence
For paragraphs, transitions can be found:
- At the beginning the paragraph
- At the end of the paragraph
Types of Transitions
Since transitions show relationships among sentences and paragraphs, recognizing types of transitions will aid a student writer when trying to place them.
- Additive transitions - add or introduce information. They can also be used to show similarities or to further clarify ideas. Some examples of additive transitions include:
- Also, indeed, alternatively, further, furthermore, on the other hand, in addition
- For example, for instance, in particular, to illustrate
- Similarly, likewise, in the same manner/way
- Specifically, namely
- In other words
- Adversative transitions - show readers' conflicts, contradictions, dismissals, or emphasis. Some examples of adversative transitions include:
- But, in contrast, however, conversely, on the other hand
- Indeed, more importantly, in either case, in any case, in any event, at any rate
- Nonetheless, nevertheless, regardless
- Causal transitions - show the relationship of cause and effect or consequence. Some example of causal transitions include:
- Due to or due to the fact, for, as, since
- Granting, granted, on the condition, unless
- As a result, consequently, therefore, thus, otherwise
- Sequential transitions - show the reader that chronological sequences in time or provide a sequence to a logical argument. Some examples of sequential transitions include:
- Initially, first, to begin with, to start with
- Afterwards, subsequently, previously, finally
- To summarize, therefore, briefly, in short
Using Transitions in Writing
Clearly, transition words can be used in so many places that they can be overused. The key to using them efficiently is to add enough to make the reader understand the points being made without using so many that the phrases become cumbersome. A balance should be maintained; however, there are no rules as to how many or how few transitions should be in any particular essay.
The only way to get better at writing is to do more writing. The way to get better at using transitions is to consciously try to use them. Many students already know the steps in the writing process:
For some writers, this is not a linear progression. Often writers move back and forth among the different steps. There is no one correct way to write, and many writers stick to what works best for them. Often, individual writing processes are learned over time and with much practice.
Adding Transitions During Editing
To include transition words, first the essay must be written and edited. There is no sense spending lots of time on transition words if the writing lacks content, organization, or contains many grammatical and mechanical errors.
Once a draft of the essay is complete, then transition words can be added in the revision and editing stage. Having a list of transition words available during writing may help with the placement of the words.
Keep in mind that some transition words are more informal than others. Academic writing should be written in a formal, authoritative tone unless an instructor or the assignment indicates otherwise.
After writing the essay, one way to help the reader stay focused and follow your thought pattern is to include a variety of transition words throughout the essay. These signal words are important for a smooth transition from one idea to another. However, try not to overuse transition words or use them as filler to bump word counts.
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How Do I Include Transition Words in My Essay?
By YourDictionaryEnglish teachers often ask students to put transition words in their essays. Transition words show relationships between ideas in sentences and paragraphs; therefore, they are an important part of writing. The best part about transition words is that they can be easily inserted in many different places throughout an essay.
Applicants often ignore transitions to their own detriment. A good essay must use transitions within paragraphs and especially between paragraphs to preserve the logical flow of the essay. An essay without good transitions is like a series of isolated islands; the reader will struggle to get from one point to the next. Use transitions as bridges between your ideas. As you move from one paragraph to the next, you should not have to explain your story in addition to telling it. If the transitions between paragraphs require explanation, your essay is either too large in scope or the flow is not logical. A good transition statement will straddle the line between the two paragraphs.
You should not have to think too much about how to construct transition sentences. If the concepts in your outline follow and build on one another naturally, transitions will write themselves. To make sure that you are not forcing your transitions, try to refrain from using words such as, “however,” “nevertheless,” and “furthermore.” If you are having trouble transitioning between paragraphs or are trying to force a transition onto a paragraph that has already been written, then this may indicate a problem with your overall structure. If you suspect this to be the case, go back to your original outline and make sure that you have assigned only one point to each paragraph, and that each point naturally follows the preceding one and leads to a logical conclusion. The transition into the final paragraph is especially critical. If it is not clear how you arrived at this final idea, you have either shoe-horned a conclusion into the outline, or your outline lacks focus.
If you are confident in your structure, but find yourself stuck on what might make a good transition, try repeating key words from the previous paragraph and progressing the idea. If that doesn’t work, try this list of common transitions as your last resort:
If you are adding additional facts or information:
as well, and, additionally, furthermore, also, too, in addition, another, besides, moreover
If you are trying to indicate the order of a sequence of events:
first of all, meanwhile, followed by, then, next, before, after, last, finally, one month later, one year later, etc.
If you are trying to list things in order of importance:
first, second etc., next, last, finally, more importantly, more significantly, above all, primarily
If you are trying to connect one idea to a fact or illustration:
for example, for instance, to illustrate, this can be seen
To indicate an effect or result:
as a result, thus, consequently, eventually, therefore,
To indicate that one idea is the opposite of another:
nonetheless, however, yet, but, though, on the other hand, although, even though, in contrast, unlike, differing from, on the contrary, instead, whereas, nevertheless, despite, regardless of
When comparing one thing to another:
In a different sense, similarly, likewise, similar to, like, just as, conversely.
Connect the following sentences using an effective transition, when needed. (In some cases, the two sentences will be able to stand without a transition.)
1) However; 2) Similarly; 3) The shock of this revelation at such a tender age; 4) That was three seasons ago. 5) In addition; 6) To cope with his passing; 7) Despite the burdens she faced; 8) From her experiences during college; 9) My mother did not only want me to have a broad knowledge of languages.
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