Transitional Words and Phrases
A good writer will use transitional words and phrases to guide the reader through the text. You are no doubt familiar with the common transitions, though you may never have considered how they operate. Some transitional phrases (after, before, during, in the middle of) give information about time. Some indicate that an example is about to be given (for example, in fact, for instance). Writers use them to compare (also, likewise) and contrast (however, but, yet). Transitional words and phrases can suggest addition (and, also, furthermore, moreover) and logical relationships (if, then, therefore, as a result, since). Finally, transitional words and phrases can demarcate the steps in a process (first, second, last). You should incorporate transitional words and phrases where they will orient your reader and illuminate the structure of your composition.
Transititional words and phrases are used to guide the reader through the text. You’ve probably seen a lot of these common transitional words and phrases before but you may not have thought about what their operation is — what their purpose is in the paper. So let’s look at different ways the transitions can be used. You can have transitions that show time information. For instance, after, before, during and in the middle of. These all tell you when in time something is happening. You can also have transitions that indicate an example that is about to be given — for example, in fact, for instance. If you say something, if you state your main idea and then you want to give a supporting example, you can say “in fact let me tell you this thing.” For example, dogs make good pets because they are very loyal. These phrases let you know that an example is coming. Transitions can be used for comparing — also, likewise — you’re saying how two things are alike. This is also like this. Likewise, we can look at how dogs are good companions. You can also use them for contrasting, saying how two things are different — however, but, yet. You would like a dog for a pet because they are so companionable, but a cat is not going to be as affectionate. They won’t make as good of a companion as the dog. So you can contrast two things using however, but, yet. Transitions can be used to suggest additions to let you know that more is coming. And, also, furthermore. These all let you know more is coming. More examples are coming, more information is coming. More details of the same sort. You can have transitions that reflect logical relationships — if, then, therefore, as a result, since. If I go to bed late, I might be tired in the morning. I went to bed late, therefore, I was tired in the morning. So these transitions reflect logical relationships. And our last example for transtional words and phrases are steps in a process. These words show that exactly. They’re showing the steps in a process. First, you’ll gather up all your ingredients. Second, you’ll mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Last, you’ll take the cake out of the oven. So these steps are telling you exactly what’s happening. 1st, 2nd, 3rd. They may thrown in next, after that, they may not want to just put numbered all the time — like last isn’t telling you the tenth step,it just uses the transitional word last but it still is giving you of what step that is in the process. So, make sure you use your transitional words and phrases where they will orient your reader and illuminate the structure of your composition. You want to let your readers know where they are in your paper. If you’re saying first this happens, next, this happens or for steps in a process – first you do this, second you do this. Or if you are comparing or contrasting things you would say well, here’s this, likewise, there’s this – however, there’s this if you are contrasting. And you want to illuminate the structure of your composition. You’re writing a contrast and comparison essay, these comparing and contrast transitional words are going to help highlight that that’s what type of essay you’re writing. If you’re writing a persuasive essay, you might see a lot of examples. If you’re writing an instructional essay, you might see a lot of steps in a process. If you’re writing an informational essay, you may have some logical relationships. So using these transitional words and phrases you can help your reader know what the purpose of your writing was. So, please always use transitional words and phrases in your writing cause you want to guide your reader through the text and let them know what your purpose is.
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Last updated: 12/15/2017
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