Making Writing Flow with Transitional Words and Phrases
  • 3-minute read
  • 10th January 2020

Making Writing Flow with Transitional Words and Phrases

One challenge of academic writing is making sure your essay flows from one section, paragraph, or sentence to the next. Without doing this, your writing may seem choppy, making it difficult for readers to follow your argument.

To ensure your writing flows, it’s important to use transitional words and paragraphs. These are phrases and passages of text that link different parts of your essay, usually by specifying how one sentence or paragraph relates to the next. Let’s look at a few examples of how this works.

How to Use Transitional Paragraphs

A transitional paragraph is a short passage explaining the connection between two parts of an essay, often by summarizing the previous section to prepare for the following one. This helps the reader follow your argument.

For example, if we were discussing the causes of a marketing trend, we might use a transitional paragraph to move from one point of focus to the next:

In the previous section we considered environmental factors behind the observed changes, whereas now we will examine psychological motivations. These are connected insofar as…

Generally, transitional paragraphs are useful in longer essays or dissertations, especially those comprising several independent chapters. Your reader may need reminders of what you’ve discussed so they can see how each section contributes to your overall argument.

How to Use Transitions within Paragraphs

Equally important are transitions within paragraphs. A long passage with short, unconnected sentences will be very confusing. This is where transitional words and phrases come in handy. They can help you specify the relationship between sentences.

Take, for example, these sentences, where there are no obvious transitions:

Bill and Ben (1952) achieved their results using non-standard language. Other studies have used conventional forms of speech. It is not clear whether the language used effects findings.

This isn’t hard to follow, but over an entire essay it can become difficult. The reader may have to guess how each sentence relates to the other. Therefore, it’s helpful to include a few words or phrases to bridge the statements:

Bill and Ben (1952) achieved their results using non-standard language, but other studies have used conventional forms of speech. Consequently, it is not clear whether the language used effects findings.

Here, connecting the first two sentences with “but” shows that a contrast is being introduced, while the phrase “consequently” signals that the third sentence is a conclusion based on the preceding statements.

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List of Transitional Words and Phrases

Let’s end with a short list of some handy transitional words and phrases. Just make sure you know what they all mean before using them!

To Signal…

Transitional Words/Phrases

Similarity

Likewise, similarly, in the same way…

Contrast/comparison

However, nevertheless, by comparison…

Addition

Furthermore, moreover, additionally…

Cause/effect

Accordingly, as a result, consequently, therefore…

Conclusion/summary

In brief, to summarize, in conclusion, finally…

With the simple addition of transition words like these, we remove any doubt about how two sentences may be related.

Another way to ensure your writing is clear, though, is to have it proofread by the specialists. Get in touch today if you’d like our expert help!

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