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The Right Way to Use Transitions


EF_Team [Moderator] 41 / 222 15  
May 1, 2006   #1
Imagine a story without commas, exclamation marks, question marks, or periods. Yet, without transitions what would a story, essay, or term paper be like? While the greatest ideas in the world might be expressed in fabulous words, but without transitions it just would not sound correct. Transitions are the tools that help one paragraph flow smoothly to another one.

One type of transitions is called transitional tags. These are simple words of and, but, nor, for, yet, or, and so. Simple words, yet, they add meaning to the sentences. Most of these are used in the middle of the sentence. However, sometimes they are used at the beginning of the sentence to add emphasis to a sentence. Look at the sentences above:

Most of these are used in the middle of the sentence. However, sometimes they are used at the beginning of the sentence to add emphasis.

However, at the beginning of the sentence was used to capture the attention of the reader. It is not a good idea to use this method too many times in an essay, but once in a while gives added emphasis to a sentence.

Another type of transitional device is called the conjunctive adverbs or sometimes known as the adverbial conjunctions. These may be used in the beginning of a sentence. Look at the following two examples:

After all, Joanna worked to accomplish her goals.
Finally, the girl accomplished the task.


The transitions add emphasis to the sentence that would not be there without the use of transitions. Conjunctive adverbs can be used in the middle of the sentence as well.

Four men were in the lead for the finish line, and then the guy in the red took over the lead and crossed the finish line three seconds before the guy in blue.

"And then" shows the reader a change in the sentence and adds emphasis to the sentence. It is an addition transitions. Some other addition transitions are again, also, besides, important, first, further, in addition, in the first place, next, second, and too.

Often transitions are used to connect key words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs. Transitions give an essay a smooth flow to the sentences and paragraphs. The problem is many students forget to use transitions. Look at the following paragraph:

Imagine jumping off the highest building in New York. Believing to be the president of the United States. Charging too much on a credit card. Dancing in the snow. Someone with bipolar disease often feels this way.

Two out of ten people have bipolar disease. They often commit suicide.

While these sentences may be grammatically correct, they are not linked to one another, as they would be using transitions. Look at these sentences now:

Imagine jumping off the highest building in New York, believing to be the president of the United States, charging too much on a credit card, or dancing in the snow; yet, someone with bipolar disease often feels this way.

Two out of ten people have bipolar disease and often they commit suicide.

Doesn't the paragraph flow more smoothly now by adding yet to the first paragraph. Then using "and often" to the sentence makes it seem more connected.

What are some transitional words that can be used to add emphasis or to connect one paragraph from another? Try some of these:

again, besides, important, similarly, although, and yet, at the same time, despite that, even so, in contrast, certainly, indeed, altogether, for example, for instance, in short, it is true, of course, in conclusion, afterward, at last, meanwhile, simultaneously, since, soon, still, thereafter, until, and when.

There are even more than these. Transitions are important in connecting thoughts in sentences and connecting one paragraph to another. Using transitions in an essay, term paper, or story will make a lot of difference in how well the reader enjoys it.

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